John Lahr’s successful dramatization of The Orton Diaries chronicles the last eight months of Joe Orton’s life, his growing theatrical celebrity and the corresponding punishing effect it had on his relationship with his friend and mentor Kenneth Halliwell, who murdered him on August 9, 1967, and then took his own life. The play incorporates into the collage of Orton’s words, his letters, literary fragments, psychiatric reports and Lahr’s unused taped material from sources for his biography of Orton, Prick Up Your Ears.
‘Through one of those almost magical transformations by which the theatre imposes its own perspective, Orton’s lover and murderer Kenneth Halliwell, at last leaps from the sidelines while Orton slips into the background as if a mere spectator in the face of his lover’s pitiful decline…’
Nicholas de Jongh, The Guardian
‘It’s lively, scurrilous and perversely enjoyable throughout…’
London Evening Standard
‘Very rude and very funny.’