'Mr Sloane... You should wear more clothes, Mr Sloane. I believe you're as naked as me.'
Entertaining Mr Sloane
Roundabout Theater Company, Laura Pels Theatre
March 16 through May 21, 2006
Playwright: Joe Orton
Director: Scott Ellis
Alec Baldwin (Ed)
Jan Maxwell (Kath)
Chris Carmack (Sloane)
Richard Easton (Kemp)
Today's salute to English playwright and author Joe Orton's play Entertaining Mr Sloane comes thanks to actor Chris Carmack. It started last month while trying to find images of Carmack to celebrate the actors December 22nd birthday. I kept coming back to images of Carmack, along with co-stars Alec Baldwin and Jan Maxwell from their roles in the 2006 Off Broadway staging of Orton's play. The images, most by renowned Theatrical photographer Joan Marcus had me wanting to see more, and learn more about the play. I couldn't find bigger sizes of the images, but these should still give you a glimpse of why I wanted to see more.
Marcus's images, especially of Carmack's beautiful chest, had me, along with Baldwin's Ed, and Maxwell's Kath, salivating for more. The Off Broadway run had a short term run, even shorter for actress Jan Maxwell who left with about a month of performances left, supposedly due to Baldwin's behaviour. she was replaced for the shows final performances by actress Barbara Sims.
Maxwell was universally praised for her turn as Kath, but the revival mostly got his and miss reviews from critics. Baldwin was loved by some, disliked by others. Carmack was generally praised for his looks, and ability to draw attention from both the play's main characters, and the audience, but many felt he did not have the 'edge' required for the character of Sloane. With only the reviews, ad Marcu's production photos, I would have loved to have seen this version. Carmack is bewitching for sure, but I would have loved to have watched Baldwin and Maxwell sink their teeth, and their considerable acting chops, into trying to get Sloane's attention.
'Sleek as a walrus in Savile Row-style suits and spectacles, Mr. Baldwin starts off very funny, as the officious Ed's eyes light up at the first glimpse of a half-naked Sloane.'
Directed by Douglas Hickox
Written by Joe Orton (play)
Clive Exton (screenplay)
Beryl Reid: Kath
Peter McEnery: Sloane
Harry Andrews: Ed
Alan Webb: Kemp
A salute to Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane wouldn't be complete without a nod to the 1970 film adaptation. I initially wasn't really expecting much, especially from actor Peter McEnery as Mr Sloane. I really didn't know much about the English actor, but in the promotional photos I saw, he looked too me almost too blonde and Ken doll like, I didn't visually get the edge I expected from the character.
I was wrong. McEnery, who trained with the Royal Shakespeare Company was perfect as Mr Sloane. I enjoyed all of the performance, with Beryl Reid as Kath an enjoyable standout. Reid's Kath can barely contain her lust for Sloane, wasting no time in getting his pants off and herself turned on. Andrew's Ed is equally drawn to Mr Sloane, especially after their first meeting, with Sloane only in his tighty whities. Andrew's lust is equal to his sister, but he works a little harder to keep it in check.
'The "Entertaining Mr. Sloane" I have read (I did not see the short-lived New York production) is a somewhat more brittle, surfacy affair than the movie I have seen—and I think that the play's real interest lies precisely in its grotesque avoidance of the depths with which the movie is so vividly familiar.'
'But in most of its particulars the film succeeds—with a superb cast, Douglas Hickox's inventive and generally restrained direction, and a screenplay by Clive Exton that (apart from the matters I have mentioned) opens up the action mainly to enlarge the characterization of Ed, a real virtue if only for allowing more time and scope to the wonderful Harry Andrews.'
'How can an audience in the era of naked First Ladies and transgendered decathlon athletes can still be shocked by a 53-year old British play? It’s because director Craig Smith, the play’s creative team, and the cast expertly transport us back to not-so-jolly old England in the 60’s, an era where the country was slowly coming into its sexual revolution— albeit with a gun to its head.'
Antonio Edwards Suarez (Ed)
Elise Stone (Kath)
Matt Baguth (Sloane)
John Lenartz (Kemp a.k.a. Dadda)
I enjoyed learning more about Joe Orton, his works and especially some of the history behind Entertaining Mr Sloane. I had heard or Orton before, but hadn't seen any of his work, nor did I know much about his short life, and his tragic death at the hands of his partner. It is always morbidly fascinating when an authors life and death are far more dramatic than the drama created on the page.
Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane was first produced in London at the New Arts Theatre on 6 May 1964 and transferred to the West End's Wyndham's Theatre on 29 June 1964. In researching stage revivals of the play, one of the productions that came up most frequently was also one of the most recent. Last springs production by the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble received universally outstanding reviews. For the production, and for actor Matt Baguth, the show's incredibly talented and hot Mr Sloane.
As Sloane, the handsome Matt Baguth instead builds up momentum very slowly before finally revealing the “real” man who’s the center of all the attention. And just like with the rest of this twisted tale, it’s not quite what it seems.
'With his sculpted physique, prevalent musculature and chiseled features that recall the young Malcolm MacDowell (who played the role in a 1975 London revival), Matt Baguth is mesmerizing. Speaking in a whispery, low, lightly accented voice, Mr. Baguth commands attention. Whether wearing Mod clothing or encased in black leather, and a tight white T-shirt, Baguth vividly captures the predatory nature of this youthful interloper with sly conviction.'
Since that first performance was produced in London at the New Arts Theatre in 1964, there have been thousands of productions staged of Entertaining Mr Sloane. In addition to hundreds staged in the UK, the play moved to the US, playing on Broadway at The Lyceum Theatre in 1965. This production closed however, after just 13 performances. The show has since been revived all over the UK and America. Beryl Reid (Kath in the film) joined Malcolm McDowell as Sloane in a 1975 production for a Joe Orton Festival at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
With all of those thousand of productions, there were thousands of actors seducing thousands of Kath's and Ed's as well. In the film, and in many of the stage versions, this seducing occurs with Mr Sloan only wearing his tighty whities. Although some productions had Mr Sloan in boxers, most stuck with the white briefs. Ina ddition to Malcolm McDowell, many well known actors took on the role, as well as many actors in local and smaller productions. I tried to hunt down as many productions as I could find, and below are some of my favorite (image wise) Mr Sloane's.
Adam as Mr Sloane
Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester (1984/1985)
Malcolm McDowell as Mr. Sloane
Beryl Reid as Kath
The Royal Court Theatre, London (1975)
Maxwell Caulfield as Mr Sloane
Cherry Lane Theatre, New York (1981/82)
Sadly, I couldn't find a shot of Maxwell in his tighy whities, but anyone knows if there are production images form this production, please let me know.
Brad Davis as Mr Sloane (Replacement for Maxwell Caulfield)
Barbara Bryne as Kath
Cherry Lane Theatre, New York (1982)
John Henry as Mr Sloane
Chester Little Theatre, Chester UK 2015
Paul Cereghino as Mr Sloane
Stage Door St. Louis, 2013
Alex Felton as Mr Sloane
Julia Hills as Kath
Curve Theatre, Leicester, England, 2012
'I’ve just been naked today. We took some photos for a video montage at the beginning to place the characters and the history and the setting of 1964. The photographer said “It’d be quite good if you were naked at this point.” It’s good for the character. Sloane uses his body as his card, his weapon. So, there’ll definitely be some kind of action I’m sure. Well, Sloane should be a real gay icon, the stuff of gay fantasy. That’s what Joe Orton wanted. He said as much in his diaries.'
Emrhys Cooper as Mr Sloane
Olivia d’Abo as Kath
Ian Buchanan as Ed
The Actors Company Theatre, West Hollywood, 2011
'Entertaining Mr. Sloane” boasts impressive performances from it’s fine cast. Emrhys Cooper shines as Sloane in a sexually charged, nuanced portrayal. Ian Buchanan grounds the piece with a sharp and impressive turn as Ed. Olivia d’Abo is solid as the horny Kath, decked out in a fine wig and fat suit. Robin Gammell excels as the nearly blind old man whose subtle understanding of human nature proves to be his undoing.'