What the Butler Saw

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2913

What the Butler Saw (Play) Michael Medwin, Jane Carr, Betty Marsden - Whitehall Theatre London

There are no butlers in ''What the Butler Saw,'' the play the English writer Joe Orton completed only weeks before he was murdered in 1967. Orton's title, with its prurient whiff of Edwardian peep shows, is generic: it announces a low farce rife with fallen trousers, sexual indiscretions, mistaken identities, lewd puns.

But to settle for calling Orton's comedy funny is not to do it justice. In this work, the author of ''Entertaining Mr. Sloane'' and ''Loot'' wrote that rare thing, a truly revolutionary play. Orton is scrupulous in honoring the rules of classic farce - no small achievement in itself - and yet he subversively uses those rules to demolish the even stricter rules governing the civilization beyond the theater's walls. ''What the Butler Saw'' undermines psychiatry, religion, marriage, government, definitions of gender and even simple language. By the time he reaches his breathless conclusion, Orton has transported us to a Cloudcuckooland of his own fiercely imagined invention. It's a place where girls have switched identities (and wardrobes) with boys, yes can mean no, and inmates are freely running the asylum.

Joe Orton's What the Butler Saw has played to thousands of theatre goes all around the world. There has been countless productions, which continue today with many new productions every year. Far to may to be listed, Joe Orton can be very proud of his works, they still make us loved to laugh.

Cast - Michael Medwin, Jane Carr, Betty Marsden, Kevin Lloyd, Valentine Dyall, Brian Glover

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