What The Butler Saw
What The Butler Saw

THE latest production from London Classic Theatre is Joe Orton’s What The Butler Saw. This dark farce has been repeatedly performed since 1969.

The play takes place in Dr Prentice’s private clinic. Dr Prentice (played by John Dorney), a sleazy psychiatrist is interviewing Geraldine Barclay (played by Alana Jackson), as his new secretary, where his interviewing techniques include trying to seduce her with a full examination. During the interview process his wife – Mrs Prentice (played by Holly Smith), arrives after a night in a local hotel with the bellboy – Nicholas Beckett (played by Alex Cardall), who follows Mrs Prentice, to the clinic, to blackmail her with some photographs taken during the night. Dr Rance (played by Jack Lord) suddenly arrives as the completely manic government inspector. Throwing in the mix the police with Sergeant Match (played by Jon-Paul Rowden) looking for the bellboy and a missing part from a statue of Winston Churchill.

The farce is slick with plenty of doors for the swift entrances and exits, undressing, swapping clothes and great one liners with lots of physical comedy.

Orton’s script is firmly set in the culture of the sixties and it will have been a play which would probably have shocked many of the audiences at the time. For a modern audience they may will feel uncomfortable at some of the attitudes portrayed. We did leave the theatre, not only thinking about the excellent cast, intricate and well-crafted script and the fast-paced farce but also what would have been acceptable or unacceptable and what would have been like for Joe Orton during his life and what message he was portraying.

If you enjoy a well-paced farce, with slick acting and thought-provoking discussions on the way home, head to Darlington Hippodrome until Saturday 22nd June.