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Demanding play well presented by talented cast!

At the theatre with Paul Brooks.
Loot – A black comedy by Joe Orton
Presented by Wanganui Repertory Theatre
Directed by Mark Rayner

It’s not often a man from the Water Board comes into your home and starts investigating multiple murders and a bank robbery and acting like a policeman – but it’s not often you have a scenario like that of Loot.

Set in one room on one day in 1966, Loot deals with the sudden death of Mrs McLeavy and the circumstances that result or exist in tandem with her demise. As she lies in her casket on the stage, the rest of the cast go about their interesting lives, and some discover a unique advantage in her death and post-life presence.

The plot is not mine to give away, nor would I spoil the experience for those who wish to see the play…and I hope there are many of you. Mark Rayner has not only directed a fine play, but he also finds himself in the cast playing the “man from the Water Board”. Including himself, Mark has gathered a fine, talented cast for a demanding play. Word-heavy and timing-critical, learning the script and delivering the lines would have been no picnic, but the actors managed it nicely, giving the audience plenty of laughs as a result.

Along with Mark we have Chris McKenzie as the grieving widower, Linda Kerfoot as the nurse of the deceased, Mike Pyefinch as the son of the dear departed, Troy Taylor as his partner-in-crime and Carey Knapp who makes a late entrance as a uniformed policeman.

Accents were required, the action taking place in the UK, and for the most part were handled with skill. One or two, like Mark, came supplied. Others had to come up with something and stick to it.
Everyone on stage did a great job. Linda Kerfoot stood out, as usual, with her professionalism, consistency and relaxed approach to comedy. Her character never wavers and her accent remains steadfast throughout. Her facial expressions are a delight and she delivers her lines as if saying them off the cuff for the first time.

Mike Pyefinch and his character’s obsession with the truth must have been fun to play, and Troy Taylor makes the most of his malleable face through every twist and turn of the plot.
Chris McKenzie plays age and infirmity well, a far cry from his previous role as Jed Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies. I said then I looked forward to his next role and I was not disappointed.
Carey Knapp’s brief appearance was memorable for all the right reasons and Mark Rayner…well, what can I say? I haven’t seen Mark on stage since his performance in Chigaco at the Opera House in 2008. Five years later he walks on stage…and owns it!

Directing and acting at the same time can not be easy, but Mark has handled it with skill, flair and consummate comedic artistry. He is a delight to watch, as is Loot and all the characters therein.
Full marks to the production crew who have assisted to stage a first rate play. Loved the set, right down to the way you could see other “rooms” through glass doors on each side of the stage. And that huge picture of Christ – nice job!

Loot continues nightly at 7.30 at Repertory until this Saturday. See it!

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