What The Butler Saw? Is it a good/funny play?

Princeton Returns
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/10
I know the new production has not opened yet, but the play itself, is it a good one? Anyone seen previous productions? How does it compare to say Noises Off which I love
Phantom of London
Broadway Legend
joined:3/26/08
I didn't get wild on 'Noises Off' and that genre of humour, I assume 'What The Butler Saw' is from the same mould? But Omid Djalili..................
2014 Theatre: Billy Elliot***** Meet Me In St Louis*** American Psycho**** Tell Me On A Sunday**** Jeeves and Wooster: Perfect Nonsense* Stephen Ward**** Charlie and the Chocolate factory*** Dirty Dancing** Stephen Sondheim's Puttin It Together*** Candide*** The Lion King***** The Book of Mormon****** Les Miserable***** Stephen Ward**** The Weir**** Fortune's Fool*** Spamalot*** Superior Doughnuts**** Seven Brides For Seven Brothers**** (Orchard Theatre, Dartford) Finans Rainbow**** The Commitments** Boeing Boeing*** (Orchard Theatre, Dartford) The A-Z of Mrs P** Billy Elliot***** Wicked** Good People***** Urinetown***** Spamalot*** The Full Monty**** Other Desert Cities*** Ghosts*** Dirty Rotten Scoundrels***** It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman*** Stephen Ward**** King Lear**** A Taste Of Honey** Blithe Spirit**** From Here To Eternity**** Spamalot*** Fiddler On The Roof** (Orchard Theatre, Dartford) Relative Values**** Fatal Attraction*** Matilda***** 39 Steps**** Another Country** Handbagged** Two Into One*** The Beautiful Game***** Let The Right One In**** Once**** Privacy***** Home** Best of Friends** Avenue Q*** Good People***** Betty Blue Eyes*** (Tour: Salisbury Playhouse) I Can't Sing* A View From The Bridge***** Water Babies **** (Tour: Leicester Curve) Miss Saigon***** In The Heights*** The Testament of Mary*** This May Hurt A Bit*** The Last 5 Years* (Greenwich Theatre) All My Sons*** Happy Days** Dirty Rotten Scoundrels**** Bakersfield Mist**** Ushers** The Pajama Game*** Evita*** (Tour: Orchard Theatre, Dartford)Fings Ain't What They Used To Be**** Billy Elliot***** Titus Andronicus**** 1984*** Clarence Darrow**** Miss Saigon***** A Small Family Business*** Things We Do For Love**** Hobson's Choice*** Rock of Ages*** (Tour: Churchill Theatre, Bromley) Zanna, Don't!*** The Silver Tassie** Bring Up The Bodies** Forbidden Broadway**** Carousel**** Hotel*** The Crucible**** Annie Get Your Gun*** (Churchill Theatre, Bromley) Medea*** The Importance of Being Earnest*** The Pajama Game*** Skylight**** Pacific Overtures** The Invincibles*** Julius Ceasar*** Porgy and Bess**** Dessa Rose** Great Britain**** One Man, Two Guvnors**** (Tour: Orchard Theatre, Dartford) Dogfight** My Night With Reg*** Book of Mormon***** Richard III**** Rock City**
MamasDoin'Fine
Broadway Legend
joined:9/28/08
Its not really from the same mould, 'Butler' is more tits and ass farce than 'Noises' is. This production is promising a lot of full frontal nudity than other productions have, I guess to make up for the almost seaside postcard humor that Orton wrote for what most consider his best work.

The last time it was in town was at the Wyndam's in a very cheaply staged production, It was off after a few weeks.
It was revived again in 95 at the National with Richard (Victor Meldrew) Wilson and David (Dr Who) Tennent
Princeton Returns
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/10
Thanks, may avoid. Doesnt overly sound like my kind of thing
MamasDoin'Fine
Broadway Legend
joined:9/28/08
It's 'Carry On' humor, Orton was writing it at the time the hugely successful films were being screened in British cinemas.

'Noises Off' and 'Boeing Boeing' are in a totally different league.
Princeton Returns
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/10
Yeah I loved both of those. I do love Carry On but not sure I want to pay theatre prices to watch it. Will see something else
MamasDoin'Fine
Broadway Legend
joined:9/28/08
...but then it is Orton!
mallardo
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/04
It's Carry On, Doctor Freud. Closer to Feydeau than Frayn.
Faced with these Loreleis, what man can moralize!
abitoftap
Broadway Star
joined:3/16/08
This, Ent Mr Sloan and Loot are always worth seeing.
I find them a bit like Shakespeare (honest!)..it takes five or ten minutes to get into the rhythm and the language, and then you're away.
They all have glorious moments of real farce.
After you've seen it, you'll want to read it and pick up the bits you missed. I wish the Carry Ons had been written to this level!
I admit Loot is my favourite though.

Updated On: 4/26/12 at 09:58 AM
FrontRowDress
Featured Actor
joined:3/20/12
Saw this last night and, despite valiant efforts from Tim McInnerny & Samantha Bond, it is a bit of an embarassing time piece that should have been kept in the vaults. Omid Djalili just plays Omid Djalili complete with a couple of corpsing moments that may or may not have been deliberate just to get som,e cheap laughs. I love Loot & Entertaining Mr Sloane, but this just made me feel uncomfortable for all the wrong reasons. It was only the third preview so presumably pacing & timing will get sharper, but I don't think that will be enough to rescue it. More ramblings on my blog, but really I've said it all here, so no need to click
What The Butler Saw
mallardo
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/04
Interesting. I saw a production of this play a few months ago in Los Angeles, of all places. It wasn't bad, there were some English actors in the cast so the accents were okay and the production was acceptable but I had the same reaction you did. It felt VERY dated and silly rather than funny.

I was hoping a better production might clarify things and make me see the light. Ah, well. I'll probably see it anyway.

Very well written review, btw.
Faced with these Loreleis, what man can moralize!
Scripps2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/19/08
I find Orton to be a taste that I struggle to acquire; I'd say Carry On Harold Pinter rather than Dr Freud but that's a reasonable analogy too.

The policeman is a good flash-your-cock-and-get-famous role. Ewan McGregor has spoken about enjoying the audience reaction when he did it and, as Mama observes, David Tennant has done it too:





Updated On: 5/8/12 at 11:23 AM
Phantom of London
Broadway Legend
joined:3/26/08
I saw the third preview also.

Stuff like Carry On, just doesn't do it for me, so wouldn't be remotely interested, but with 'Butler' is so light hearted, which makes it fun, thought I I would struggle with it, like I did with Noises off but ended up really enjoying it.

Im Mcinnerny and Samantha Bond are a hoot, Omid Djalili is serviceable.
2014 Theatre: Billy Elliot***** Meet Me In St Louis*** American Psycho**** Tell Me On A Sunday**** Jeeves and Wooster: Perfect Nonsense* Stephen Ward**** Charlie and the Chocolate factory*** Dirty Dancing** Stephen Sondheim's Puttin It Together*** Candide*** The Lion King***** The Book of Mormon****** Les Miserable***** Stephen Ward**** The Weir**** Fortune's Fool*** Spamalot*** Superior Doughnuts**** Seven Brides For Seven Brothers**** (Orchard Theatre, Dartford) Finans Rainbow**** The Commitments** Boeing Boeing*** (Orchard Theatre, Dartford) The A-Z of Mrs P** Billy Elliot***** Wicked** Good People***** Urinetown***** Spamalot*** The Full Monty**** Other Desert Cities*** Ghosts*** Dirty Rotten Scoundrels***** It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman*** Stephen Ward**** King Lear**** A Taste Of Honey** Blithe Spirit**** From Here To Eternity**** Spamalot*** Fiddler On The Roof** (Orchard Theatre, Dartford) Relative Values**** Fatal Attraction*** Matilda***** 39 Steps**** Another Country** Handbagged** Two Into One*** The Beautiful Game***** Let The Right One In**** Once**** Privacy***** Home** Best of Friends** Avenue Q*** Good People***** Betty Blue Eyes*** (Tour: Salisbury Playhouse) I Can't Sing* A View From The Bridge***** Water Babies **** (Tour: Leicester Curve) Miss Saigon***** In The Heights*** The Testament of Mary*** This May Hurt A Bit*** The Last 5 Years* (Greenwich Theatre) All My Sons*** Happy Days** Dirty Rotten Scoundrels**** Bakersfield Mist**** Ushers** The Pajama Game*** Evita*** (Tour: Orchard Theatre, Dartford)Fings Ain't What They Used To Be**** Billy Elliot***** Titus Andronicus**** 1984*** Clarence Darrow**** Miss Saigon***** A Small Family Business*** Things We Do For Love**** Hobson's Choice*** Rock of Ages*** (Tour: Churchill Theatre, Bromley) Zanna, Don't!*** The Silver Tassie** Bring Up The Bodies** Forbidden Broadway**** Carousel**** Hotel*** The Crucible**** Annie Get Your Gun*** (Churchill Theatre, Bromley) Medea*** The Importance of Being Earnest*** The Pajama Game*** Skylight**** Pacific Overtures** The Invincibles*** Julius Ceasar*** Porgy and Bess**** Dessa Rose** Great Britain**** One Man, Two Guvnors**** (Tour: Orchard Theatre, Dartford) Dogfight** My Night With Reg*** Book of Mormon***** Richard III**** Rock City**
MamasDoin'Fine
Broadway Legend
joined:9/28/08
I cringe at the thought of this kind of stuff on stage in 2012, it was bad enough just a few years ago.
It was just only passable in the mid 80s.
abitoftap
Broadway Star
joined:3/16/08
If you think that, you should see Funny Peculiar!
MamasDoin'Fine
Broadway Legend
joined:9/28/08
I can guess!
I last saw 'funny Peculiar' in the mid 80s and it was embarrassing!
Have you just seen the new tour?

When first presented in the 70s it was daring to push the limits. Now, it must be so boring!
abitoftap
Broadway Star
joined:3/16/08
I actually saw it at the Everyman in Liverpool in 1975 as a new student in the city. It had Julia Walters, Pete Postlethwaite and Matthew Kelly amongst others in the cast.
I guess I laughed, but I was young!
MamasDoin'Fine
Broadway Legend
joined:9/28/08
Thats the production that moved to the garrick and ran 2 years and made household names of them all.

The production I saw must have been around 1978/79 with Peter Duncan just after he left Blue Peter, To have him address the audience stark bollock naked for a 5 minute chat was something that almost made me give my Blue Peter badge I never had, back!!!
FrontRowDress
Featured Actor
joined:3/20/12
Only review I could find so far was 2 stars from Quentin Letts in Daily Mail. Mark Shenton seemed to quite like it according to his tweets last night. Let's see what the rest have to say.


Daily Mail Review
FrontRowDress
Featured Actor
joined:3/20/12
3 stars from Michael Coveney who seemed to like it more than 3, but what do I know?
WhatsOnStage Review
FrontRowDress
Featured Actor
joined:3/20/12
FrontRowDress
Featured Actor
joined:3/20/12
... and Michael Billington puts the boot in with 2 stars.
Guardian Review
FrontRowDress
Featured Actor
joined:3/20/12
The Criterion Presents season had a one-off of The Ruffian on the Stair yesterday and that was great. Totally restored my faith in Joe Orton and a fantastic cast, Lesley Sharpe, Finbar Lynch and Johnny Flynn.


The Ruffian On The Stair
Updated On: 5/18/12 at 10:25 AM
MamasDoin'Fine
Broadway Legend
joined:9/28/08
The Guardian review is already on the reviews thread!
FrontRowDress
Featured Actor
joined:3/20/12
I actually posted all the reviews on this thread yesterday before you started the reviews thread, but you hadn't noticed

Updated On: 5/18/12 at 10:59 AM
MamasDoin'Fine
Broadway Legend
joined:9/28/08
Your obviously not used to the way we work on here.

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