Joe's inscription in the first edition of
Entertaining Mr Sloane given to his parents



“What have you to offer? Your fat and the crows-feet under your eyes would make you an object of terror.”

Written in 1963 and dedicated to Kenneth Halliwell, Entertaining Mr Sloane was first presented at the New Arts Theatre, London, in May 1964. The play opened in Broadway in 1965.

The plot revolves around the relationship between the blonde, handsome and enigmatic Mr Sloane, the sexually provocative but child like Kath, her lecherous, controlling brother Ed and their father, ‘Dada’, who remembers Sloane as the murderer of his former boss.

Kath, a ‘forty year old Lolita with false teeth’, brings Sloane home to live in their house as a lodger. Sloane plays Kath along by letting her seduce him;

Kath: I’ve been doing my washing today and I haven’t a stitch on…except my shoes…I’m in the rude under this dress. I tell you because you’re bound to have noticed…

Soon her brother Ed lusts after him, employing him as his leather clad chauffeur.

In the beginning, Sloane adapts a naive and innocent persona but his real motives are soon exposed and he begins to take advantage. After Sloane brutally murders ‘Dada’, the tables are turned as the power within the relationship shifts to Kath and Ed.

Despite an outcry of protest at its transfer to the West End, Entertaining Mr Sloane was a success.

“Joe presented mum and dad with a signed copy of Entertaining Mr Sloane. It read ‘To mum and dad from Joe’. Not ‘love from Joe’, and that just about summed the relationship up”. Leonie Orton, 2007.

Image: Courtesy of the Orton Estate   Text © Leicester City Council / Orton Quotes: © The Orton Estate  

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