“A statue of Joe will ensure that a great writer is not forgotten, raise awareness of Leicester’s rich literary heritage and serve as an inspirational reminder that talent is everywhere and art is for everyone, regardless of social background or circumstance.” Leonie Orton
To be young, good-looking, healthy, famous, comparatively rich and happy is surely going against nature." When Joe Orton (1933-1967) wrote those words in his diary in May 1967, he was being hailed as the greatest comic playwright since Oscar Wilde for his darkly hilarious Entertaining Mr. Sloane and the farce hit Loot , and was completing What the Butler Saw but less than three months later, his longtime companion, Kenneth Halliwell, smashed in Orton's skull with a hammer before killing himself. The Orton Diaries , written during his last eight months, chronicle in a remarkably candid style his outrageously unfettered life: his literary success, capped by an Evening Standard Award and overtures from the Beatles his sexual escapades,at his mother's funeral, with a dwarf in Brighton, and, extensively, in Tangiers and the breakdown of his sixteen-year "marriage" to Halliwell, the relationship that transformed and destroyed him. Edited with a superb introduction by John Lahr, The Orton Diaries is his crowning achievement.
I suppose I'm a believer in Original Sin. People are profoundly bad but irresistibly funny' Joe Orton. This volume contains everything that Orton wrote for the theatre, radio and television from his first play in 1964, The Ruffian on the Stair, up to his violent death in 1967 at the age of 34. It includes his major successes: Entertaining Mr Sloane, which 'made more blood boil that any other British play in the last ten years' (The Times); Loot, 'a Freudian nightmare', which sports with superstitions about death - as well as life; his farce masterpiece, What the Butler Saw; The Erpingham Camp, his version of The Bacchae, set in a Butlin's holiday resort; together with his television plays, Funeral Games and The Good and Faithful Servant.
The volume includes a revealing introduction by John Lahr, Orton's official biographer."He is the Oscar Wilde of Welfare State gentility" (Observer)