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BWW Review: WHAT THE BUTLER SAW, Archive Recording at Curve

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BWW Review: WHAT THE BUTLER SAW, Archive Recording at CurveBWW Review: WHAT THE BUTLER SAW, Archive Recording at CurveThe latest archive recording released by Curve, their 2017 production of What The Butler Saw - co-produced with Theatre Royal Bath - is now available to stream online until the end of the lockdown period.

Joe Orton's farcical play has a small cast of six, yet the chaotic plot makes it feel like there is a much larger ensemble. Set in an examination room in a private clinic, psychiatrist Dr Prentice's attempt to seduce his prospective secretary escalates into a nonsensical string of events, leading to outlandish hilarity.

It is to the detriment of some archive recordings to be filmed in one shot on a single camera at the back of the auditorium, but in this case it works, as the staging is its best attribute.

Michael Taylor's static curvature of a set is white and clinical, reminiscent of such an environment. It has multiple entrances/exits that each have a great deal of traffic, echoing the frantic nature of the piece. The costumes greatly stand out against the blank canvas. The lighting by Ben Cracknell is generally stark, but when the stakes are at their highest, there are some nice contrasting states.

One of my favourite of Nikolai Foster's directorial pieces so far, the blocking and fast-paced action on stage has been mapped out to anchor the text seamlessly. Comic timing throughout the play is essential and each actor has it in bucket loads.

Rufus Hound as Dr Prentice is best known for being a comedian and, as such, slots into his role with ease. Whilst he is the 'name' in the show, he is on a completely equal par to every other performer. It would be a domino effect if one cast member weren't on top form, as each is reliant on the next. Dakota Blue Edwards greatly impresses as ingénue secretary,Geraldine Barclay, along with the bluntness of Mrs Prentice, played brilliantly by Catherine Russell.

Hilarious, irrational and one of the best Made at Curve plays I've seen.

The streamed production can be found here

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From This Author Jenny Ell