Lizzie’s Log

Loot – A Joe Orton Classic

A recent trip to see LOOT was a rare treat. Our local playhouse staged Joe Orton’s brilliant absurdity as their ‘alternative Christmas show’ describing it as ‘wielding a satirical sledgehammer to conventional English morality.’

The fabulous Teddington Theatre Club players, directed by Nigel Cole put together a grand performance. The beauty of front row seats, at a fraction of the cost of the West End, meant being up close and personal with the actors on stage, seeing the magical interplay of Orton’s characters.

Loot, a Joe Orton Classic at Hampton Hill Playhouse
Hampton Hill Playhouse
Loot - A Joe Orton Classic with TCC
Loot – directed by Nigel Cole

On curtain opening, we found a stage cluttered with kitsch – religious iconography, such as images of the Blessed Mother and the Sacred Heart. The holy water container, and the ubiquitous plastic Madonna were present, of course. Next to these, the curtained-off bed, the suspicious-looking closet and a huge coffin that dominates the stage. The voice of Fay McMahon, the nurse, in farcical accent chimes well with the OTT stage setting. The cringing McLeavy – in a stagier brogue – sets off an infectious atmosphere of fun and mischief.

LOOT is no mere pastiche. This savage comedy is a clever and satisfying dismembering of religious and institutional hypocrisy. The play was first performed during the period when homosexuality was illegal in Britain, as well as a being an egregious sin. Orton eviscerates the pompous and the puritanical. He examines the social-cultural morals of the era and finds them wanting.

I sensed Orton’s affection for his motley crew. Inspector Truscott, is an inverted Sherlock Holmes. Silly officer Meadows, is a betrayal of the ever-stoic ‘Dixon of Dock Green’. The two would-be bank robbers are no exemplars of the Kray twins. They have a problem living up to their ‘wide-boy’ image – one of them can’t even lie! Nurse McMahon is a serial killer. The holier-than-thou McLeavey is drowning in iniquity. These are all wonderfully subversive 1960s stereotypes.

Loot - A Joe Orton Classic
TTC Players performing Loot at the Hampton Hill Playhouse

Familiar tropes, but highlighting the absurdity of narrow-minded conventions, celebrating the quirky and the absurd. The ever-present coffin and the corpse of McLeavys late wife – trussed up and manhandled like a sack of potatoes – lent a delicious sense of sacrilege to the proceedings on stage.

Orton was a master satirist in the tradition of Oscar Wilde, if on the opposite end of the class spectrum. The London Observer once referred to him, as “The Oscar Wilde of the welfare state gentility.”

For more crackpot fun, tune in to Lizzie Snoopes

60 second tasters

Unfortunately, Orton was the victim of a murder-suicide at age 34. He died in his flat in 1967, a scene he might well have written into one of his dark satires.

Luckily, theatre-goers can still see and appreciate his superb plays, but there might have been more to enjoy if his life wasn’t ended so brutally.

Well done, TCC and Hampton Hill Playhouse for bringing Joe Orton’s work back to life, so vividly.

Loot -  A Joe Orton Classic

Want to lend your voice to the mix?

Email the Lizzie Team


Five American comedy classics

comedy classic

What turns a comedy into a classic? For starter, its humor needs to be timeless – making the film remain relevant for years to come. These are the kind of films that almost everyone talks about; you’ll be left with a massive case of FOMO if you haven’t watched them yet. Lucky for you, we have compiled a list of breathtakingly hilarious films that will have you laughing long after watching them. 

Here are five of the best films in the last century:

1. The Hangover (2009)

What would you do if you were celebrating your friend’s bachelor party and ended up losing the groom? The Hangover answers just that through its clever script. Just two days before his wedding, Doug and three of his friends drive to Las Vegas for the bachelor party. After a long night of partying, the three groomsmen wake up the next morning with no recollection of anything that happened.

Even worse, they have lost the groom, Doug. With almost no time to spare, the three are left with no choice but to retrace their steps. Watch as they beat obstacle after obstacle to save their friend’s wedding. The film is an artistic representation of the saying “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

2. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

A loveable Englishman and his friends seem to have some tough luck when it comes to love. Charles, however, seems to gain some luck when he crosses paths with Carrie, an American at a wedding. They have a strong bond and chemistry, but the timing never seems to be right. She goes back to the states leaving Tom worried that his luck might not have changed.

The movie takes its audience through the two crossing paths accidentally some more times – at a handful of nuptials, a single funeral. This premise makes it a definite classic for rom-com lovers.

3. Shaolin Soccer (2001)

Shaolin soccer is what happens when you mix comedy, action, and Kung Fu. The movie follows a young man who never seems to find a place where he belongs. He believes that all the world’s problems could be solved through Kung Fu.

Upon learning of a soccer match with $1 million as the grand prize, he teams up with a band of misfits – six of his friends who had been Kung Fu masters in their early ages. The hilarious film widens its audience’s imagination of what could happen on a soccer pitch, from clothes being blown away to balls being kicked at 100 miles per hour.

4. Safety Last (1923)

The story follows a young man who moves to New York with hopes of realizing the American dream while supporting his girlfriend. He soon discovers the sad truth that making it in the city that never sleeps could be harder than he first thought. To his luck, he learns of a store manager that’s willing to pay $1,000 to anyone who can draw customers to his store.

Attracted by the offer, he convinces his friend to do a building-climbing stunt, after which they could split the profits if they can draw customers to the shop. To his dismay, his friend gets in trouble, and he has to proceed with the stunt himself, despite having little to no knowledge about climbing buildings. Each antic from the main character will have you laughing and letting go of any acrophobia you have.

5. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

A father, Daniel Hilliard, loses custody of his children, which he is unwilling to accept. He hatches a plan with his brother help to stay close to his kids. The plan involves him dressing as an older British woman and getting hired by his ex-wife as the kids’ nanny.

The plot eventually works out. He ends up bonding with his kids and learning how to be a better parent. Eventually, living a double life gets him in trouble when he has to be in two places at once.

Engaging, hilarious, and thought-provoking, each of these films will chase away any stress you are going through. Their unique storylines and clever plots place them in the “Mt. Rushmore” of comedies.


Five great songs about the moon

I’m being followed by a moon shadow

This morning – while all were sleeping in their beds – I crept outside to see the shining moon go down over the rooftops. How magical! We humans are living on an amazing ship we call our earth, floating in the galaxy, or rather gliding through space, attracted by two magnetic stars; the sun and the moon. This nocturnal spinning around on our ship’s axis, (oh when will someone design a moon-round ship I wonder) brings us nightly to our sister moon, who awaits our presence, and dances in our dreams. In the morning, when we say farewell, she disappears over the rooftops, graciously making a pathway for the queen of the heavens to hold sway once more. 

The moon has been revered in poetry and song for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Here a few of my favourites, each one holds a special memory!

Fly me to the moon

A much loved song – recorded over 300 times, and written in 1954 by Bart Howard. Sinatra’s 1964 recording was aligned with NASA‘s Apollo space program. A recording of the song was played on the Apollo 10 mission which orbited the Moon,[45] and  Apollo 11 just prior to the Moon landing.  

Among others who recorded versions of the song, Bobby Womack had a billboard hit in1968, Julie London, 1963, Paul Anka in 1963, and most recently in 2020, Miumiu a six-year-old from China made a home video that was then picked up by Italian musicians. Bruno Zucchetti included instrumentals and performed the song during lockdown.

Definitely a TOP MOON SONG!

However, my favourite rendition is Julie London

Blue moon

Blue moon refers to a rare event, i.e., once in a blue moon. A blue moon happens once in every few years. The song was written by Rodgers and Hart in the early 1930s. Poignantly, Richard Rodgers, a lifelong homosexual, was unable to find lasting love in his lifetime, hence the sad and beautiful undertone of loneliness and longing.

Recorded by Elvis, Jo Stafford, Mel Torme and others, perhaps the most potent version of the song is Ella Fitzgerald’s recording in 1957. Her soaring voice lifts that old blue moon right out of the starry oceans.

That said, my fond favourite is the laid-back recording by that master of relaxed vocals and all-time crooner, Dean Martin.

Paper moon

Ella Fitzgerald’s scintillating recording of ‘Paper Moon’ in 1945 was accompanied by the Delta Rhythm Boys. An all time classic. This popular jazz standard was written in 1933 by Harold Arlen, Yip Harburg, and Billy Rose. They really knew how to write songs back in those days! Oher versions were recorded by Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, and the child star singer, Lena Zavaroni who recorded the song in the UK in 1981. Whatever happened to Lena by the way?

Check out the smooth, dreamy voice of the maestro, Nat King Cole. Here he is singing the song live in 1957.

Walking on the moon

This song was released by the reggae influenced band ‘The Police’ in 1979. It was one of the songs on their acclaimed album Regatta de Blanc. I can still remember the excitement I felt as a star struck teenager on hearing the strange, other worldly lyrics for the very first time. The sound was known as ‘white reggae’ back in the day and Sting was an absolute sensation. Rumour has it that the song popped into his head while lying in bed, drunk and stoned in a hotel room in Munich.

Here is the first verse:

Giant steps are what you take Walking on the moon I hope my legs don’t break Walking on the moon We could walk forever Walking on the moon We could live together Walking on, walking on the moon

Walking on the moon, Police, 1979

The dark side of the moon

This incredible album was released in 1973 by Pink Floyd. Now, this is an eerie moon album – and the song entitled ‘great gig in the sky’ deals with mental illness and breakdown. Who can ever forget the bizarre keyboard intro, with an Irish man’s voice, saying ‘I am not frightened of dying, anytime will do’, followed by a witchy solo screamed out by Clare Torry, who sued the band in 2004 for royalties based on her contribution. You could argue that it was her haunting, semi-erotic vocal interlude that made the song a cult classic, worldwide. Torry was paid £30 for her studio work. In the end, she received an out of court settlement for her musical contribution – the solo was impromptu.

Listen to Clare Torry’s haunting solo.

Au Clair de la lune

French folk song of the 18th century, and in 2008, according to Wikipedia

phonautograph paper recording made by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville of “Au clair de la lune” on 9 April 1860, was digitally converted to sound by American researchers. This one-line excerpt of the song was widely reported to have been the earliest recognizable record of the human voice and the earliest recognizable record of music.[10][11] According to those researchers, the phonautograph recording contains the beginning of the song, “Au clair de la lune, mon ami Pierrot, prête moi“.[11][12][13]


A beautiful, poetic song by the great, Cat Stevens, pre-1978, written in that great period of flowering before he left the musical spotlight – abandoning his guitar and letting go of his plaintiff melodies – and turning his mind to Mecca.

The song speaks for itself. Cat is one of those guys I had a crush on, back in the day. Like, who wouldn’t?

Before he became Yusuf

Here he is performing the classic in 1970.

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: