It scandalized audiences with its tale of bisexual bank thieves who hide the titular money they’ve stolen in the coffin of the mother of one of them; a shady detective who pretends to be from, of all places, the Water Board; a larcenous nurse whose seven husbands have all died under mysterious circumstances and a corpse that gets stuffed in a closet. The play lasted just 22 performances when it eventually migrated to Broadway.
Still, Loot has always had its fans. Its West End production, shortly after the Cambridge failure, won the Evening Standard Award. In 1970, three years after Orton’s longtime lover bludgeoned him to death in a jealous rage, a movie version of the play starring Richard Attenborough, Milo O’Shea and Lee Remick was a hit at the Cannes Film Festival.