Within the office’s walls, as Joe Orton’s masterfully intricate plot unfolds, charges of madness and instances of mistaken identity abound, as Freudian taboos seem to be flouted (and flaunted) with blithe impunity. Allegations and misperceptions include double incest, necrophilia, male and female cross-dressing, Oedipus and Electra complexes, voyeurism, various fetishes, nymphomania, lesbianism, and rape. Late in the second act, when an alarm is pressed, a siren wails and metal bars drop over each of the doors, transforming the office into a literal cage (or jail) as the lights go out and the set is lighted only by the glare of a bloody sunset.
Once a number of the characters’ crises are resolved, a skylight opens and Sergeant Match, a policeman, descends on a rope ladder. Weary, bleeding, drugged, and drunk, Orton’s characters then climb the ladder to the blazing light above, resolving to get dressed and face the world with renewed respectability.