Liam Rudden: London calling - a theatre break is on the cards

Christoper Fulford  in Loot
Christoper Fulford in Loot
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THE last production I saw of Joe Orton’s deliciously dark comedy Loot was at Perth Rep, way back in 2005.

It’s hard to believe 12 years have passed, maybe why I’m looking forward to catching the 50th anniversary production of the doomed playwright’s classic next month, in London.

The play revolves around a coffin, in which lies a body, that of the deceased mother of a bank-robber’s pal. Oh, and in there with her is the pair’s loot. Hidden.

It is irreverent and hilarious. So much so, the performance I saw caused walk outs - the sight of a stuffed effigy being stripped and man-handled from hiding place to hiding place, too much for some Perthshire sensitivities.

Wonder what they would make of the new production, currently showing at the Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, where they have a real live actress as the dead body.

The fact that Christopher Fulford (pictured), one of the UK’s most underrated actors, is also in the cast as Inspector Truscott makes it an even more exciting prospect.

Loot is just one a number of shows on my latest London hit-list - a theatre break is definitely on the cards soon.

Another is equally dark, but without the comedy - I hope.

The Exorcist opens at the Phoenix Theatre, Charing Cross Road, on 20 October, for a strictly limited run.

Yes, some 46 years after William Peter Blatty’s best-selling novel terrified a generation, The Exorcist is coming to the West End stage for the first time.

For those unfamiliar with the story, the titles says it all really: When medical professionals fail to provide answers to Regan’s strange symptoms, her desperate mother turns to a local priest for help.

But, before Father Damien can tackle what’s before him, he must overcome his own shaken beliefs, as this fight is for more than just one girl’s soul...

A try out at Birmingham Rep last year saw Jenny Seagrove and Peter Bowles - as the titular Father Merrin - in the cast. So far, however, London casting has yet to be revealed.

Also on my ‘Must See’ list this autumn is Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle, starring Dunfermline’s Kenneth Cranham and Anne-Marie Duff.

By Simon Stephens, this new play tells of a chance, life-changing meeting between two strangers in a crowded London train station.

Surprising and life-affirming, it ponders the question: What brings people together in this uncertain world?

Brought to the stage by the creative team behind The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, it should prove intriguing.

See it at the Wyndham’s Theatre, also Charing Cross Road, from 3 October.

Finally, for now though, a return to ‘New Jersey’ to see The Toxic Avenger Musical at The Arts Theatre, Great Newport Street, is a foregone conclusion.

This time it will be in all its outrageous, gory glory, with full set - the one that didn’t fit into The Pleasance during the Fringe - and with the two cut musical numbers restored. Bring it on.