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Gerald Carpenter: Ensemble Theatre Company Stashes the ‘Loot’

The Joe Orton play runs through June 27 at the Alhecama Theatre

Nurse Fay (Heather Prete) has her own plans for the naive widower (David McCann) in the Ensemble Theatre Company's Loot
Nurse Fay (Heather Prete) has her own plans for the naive widower (David McCann) in the Ensemble Theatre Company’s Loot.

The Ensemble Theatre Company has long represented the gold standard of professional theater productions in town. Its next show, which opens Thursday and runs through June 27 at the Alhecama Theatre, 914 Santa Barbara St., is Joe Orton’s macabre farce, Loot.

It’s directed by Jonathan Fox and stars Ned Schmidtke, David McCann, Kerby Joe Grubb, Heather Prete, Wyatt Fenner and Julian Rubel.

Loot is the second of the three full-length plays Orton managed to complete, or almost complete, before his lover beat him to death with a hammer in 1967. Since the play first opened in February 1965, audiences have divided about equally among those who find it hilarious and insightful, those who find it sick and outrageous, and those who find it hilarious, sick, insightful and outrageous.

The plot — two, um, roommates rob a bank, hide the loot in an occupied coffin and spend the rest of the play trying to keep control of the money while fending off the interrogations of an insane police inspector — is the least of it. As with Jean Genet in France, people haven’t known whether to put Orton in jail or the Pantheon; and, as with Genet, they tried first one, then the other.

Loot plays at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sundays.

Single tickets range from $29 to $48, with discounts available for seniors and students. Subscriptions, single tickets and group tickets are available through the Ensemble Theatre Box Office at 805.965.5400, or click here to purchase online.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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