Act I Summary
Entertaining Mr. Sloane begins with a dowdy, forty-ish woman named Kath showing her middle-class home to a prospective lodger, a street-wise and coarse twenty-year-old boy named Sloane whom she had met that afternoon in the public library. Kath almost immediately hints to Sloane that she is willing to have sex with him and reveals that she once had a young son out of wedlock whom she gave up for adoption. Sloane agrees to take a room in the house, revealing that he was himself brought up in an orphanage.
Kath's elderly father, Kemp, enters, and initially mistakes Sloane for his son, Ed. While Kath is in the kitchen, Kemp talks with Sloane and toasts crumpets (small cakes) over the electric logs in the fireplace. Eventually Kemp decides that he recognizes Sloane as the young hitchhiker who two years ago murdered Kemp's former boss. Kemp then stabs Sloane in the leg with the toasting fork. Kath returns from the kitchen, scolds her father for his uncivilized behavior and then ministers to Sloane's wound, insisting that Sloane remove his trousers so she can apply antiseptic and a bandage. While dressing Sloane's wound, Kath ignores the doorbell, expecting a nosy lady acquaintance who might spread rumors. She somewhat coyly attempts to seduce Sloane. Sending Sloane upstairs for a bath, Kath demands an explanation from her father, eventually sending him to Sloane's former lodging to collect the young man's belongings.
Kath's brother, Ed, then enters. A participant m some kind of vague "business" that sounds like it has underworld connections, Ed has come to get Kemp to sign papers that will commit him to an old folks home. Ed does not live in the same house with Kath and their father, but before his entrance he overheard the talk of the new tenant and now forbids Kath to take in Sloane. Ed already suspects the possibility of sexual relations between Kath and the new lodger and asserts that rumors of such behavior would hurt his reputation and livelihood.
Ed insists on meeting Sloane When he does, Ed is immediately attracted to Sloane himself. The homosexual Ed dismisses Kath, interviews Sloane, and offers him a job as his personal chauffeur. As Sloane goes to eat, Ed tells Kath he will pay Sloane's rent. Ed leaves, and Kath is finally alone with Sloane, who has re-entered from the kitchen Kath quickly seduces the willing Sloane on the living room sofa as the first act ends.
Act II Summary
One morning, six months later, Kath enters from a shopping trip to find Sloane lying on the sofa wearing boots, leather trousers, and a white T-shirt. Sloane explains that he is resting while Eddie works on the car because Sloane has a hangover from a late night out with three of his male friends. As he fields Kath's probing questions about women, Sloane accuses her of jealousy and attempting to run his life, threatening to leave if she persists. Kemp enters looking for his pills but refuses Sloane's help in finding them. While Kemp babbles, Kath whispers to Sloane that she is pregnant. After Kemp leaves Sloane refuses to marry her. But to mollify Kath, Sloane turns over to her, as a token of his respect, a locket his mother had given him.
Ed enters and joins Kath in vying for Sloane's attentions. After Sloane exits to the kitchen, Ed intimates that he might fire Sloane from his chauffeur's job for joy-riding the previous night, but Kath says she needs her "baby" because Ed took away her other baby, the child she bore out of wedlock to Tommy, one of Ed's former friends When Sloane re-enters, Ed traps him into admitting he was with a woman the night before He counsels Sloane on the untrustworthiness of females. Sloane agrees to move out of the house and go with Ed once Sloane receives sufficient financial incentives.
Kemp enters and breaks his usual silence with his son because he wants to tell Ed about Kath's pregnancy, Sloane's crime, and about Sloane threatening and beating him. When Sloane returns and Kemp leaves the room, Ed confronts Sloane with Kemp's accusations...
(The entire section is 1,210 words.)