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Loot - Joe Orton's original dialogue to be heard for the first time on UK stage

DIALOGUE Joe Orton wrote 50 years ago for his darkly comic masterpiece Loot is to be heard for the first time on stage in the UK.

Material judged too scandalous or morally dubious in 1967 by the official censor, the Lord Chamberlain, is being reinstated for the 50th Anniversary production at London’s Park Theatre (August 17 to September 24) and the Watermill Theatre (September 28 to October 21, 2017).

Orton was murdered by his lover Kenneth Halliwell half a century ago this Wednesday on August 9, 1967.

The Joe Orton Estate, run by the playwright’s sister Leonie, agreed the original script could be used and has given permission for the sections of dialogue to be performed for the very first time.

These include a scene the Lord Chamberlain (a member of the Royal Household) believed alluded to homosexual acts and relationships – which were then still illegal – blasphemy and S & M. The censor also didn’t like references to “knock shop” and found a speech about a corpse’s body parts to be an outrage – and they were deleted with his famous blue pen.

Leonie said: “This is what Joe originally wrote, but it was censored at the time. It’s a sad anniversary, yet good that what Joe actually felt and wrote is to be staged for the first time.”

Orton wrote several letters to the censor in an attempt to get this dialogue back into Loot but was unsuccessful.

Themes considered taboo by the Lord Chamberlain, even in the anything-goes 1960s, included homosexuality, artificial insemination and bad language. Criticisms of the Church and the Crown were also considered beyond the pale.

Loot ran in the West End from the end of 1966 to end of 1967. Stage censorship was abolished by the Theatres Act 1968.

Read more about the 50th anniversary production of Loot.