XYZ: 'IT'S ON!' EVENTS & OFFERS - *WHAT'S ON IN BRIGHTON & HOVE*
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Ruffian On The Stair
Orton’s first play, the one-act The Ruffian on the Stair is a claustrophobic black comedy about two domesticated criminals and a menacing stranger.
It is two years since Mike persuaded Joyce to give up a rather dubious career and live with him in a small flat and an unstimulating relationship. Mike is fitfully employed, receiving furtive commissions to cause certain people significant bodily inconvenience. Left alone in the flat with the goldfish, Joyce is visited by Wilson, who invites himself in and reveals he knows quite a lot about her current life, and aforementioned dubious employment. From Wilson’s more-than-fraternal relationship with his deceased brother and Mike’s violently-protective jealousy emerges a tense and bristling comedy of unusual morality.
The Ruffian on the Stair was broadcast on BBC Radio in 1964, and given its first stage performance in a production by the English Stage Society in 1966. This revised version was produced at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1967.
Irreverently morbid, impeccably witty and viciously satiric, Funeral Games is a black farce of unconventional piety. Caulfield, a self-confessed member of the criminal classes, is hired as a private investigator by Pringle, who suspects his wife of having an affair. Pringle is the head of a seedy sect called ‘The Brotherhood’; he has a hot water bottle in the shape of a cross and communes intimately with female penitents. His wife, it turns out, has been doing nothing more compromising than caring for McCorquodale, an elderly defrocked priest with a body in his cellar. But the Bible demands that Pringle exacts brutal revenge upon the ‘adulteress’: not to kill her would be to risk the fury of his adoring and amorous public.
The play’s mischievously inverted piety makes a deliciously sharp and hilarious attack on religious hypocrisy. Funeral Games was first presented by Yorkshire Television in 1968.
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