A/V Room









What The Butler Saw transfers to West End

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE Hampstead run of Joe Orton's farce, What the Butler Saw ends on August 20, 2005. It will subsequently reopen in the West End's Criterion Theatre on August 24, for a limited eight week season - until October 22, 2005.

It follows The Gruffalo which ends on August 21 and will, in turn, be followed by Otherwise Engaged which opens on October 31, 2005 and is initially booking to January 28, 2006.

Previously Posted: Director David Grindley's revival of Joe Orton's farce, What the Butler Saw, opens at Hampstead Theatre on July 19, 2005 (previews from July 14) - until August 20, 2005.

What the Butler Saw was Orton's last play and was first produced in 1969, two years after he was murdered (at the age of 34) by his lover, Kenneth Halliwell who subsequently committed suicide.

Considered by many to be his funniest, What the Butler Saw centres upon sex-obsessed psychiatrist, Dr Prentice, whose attempts to seduce his secretary are frustrated by the arrival of his nymphomaniac wife, an over-enthusiastic inspector and a dim-witted policeman.

Orton's other completed plays include Entertaining Mr Sloane and Loot.

Although undoubtedly a modern classic, What the Butler Saw is an unusual choice for the Hampstead - a theatre dedicated to new writing - and follows Grindley's 2002 production of Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party.

This was, in fact, the final production in the theatre's original building and marked the 25th anniversary of the play, which premiered there in 1977.

Grindley's other successes include the revival of RC Sheriff's First World War drama, Journey's End which is scheduled to return to the New Ambassadors theatre in September - its fourth West End venue; the Old Vic's production of National Anthems; and Neil LaBute's Some Girl(s) which is currently playing at the Gielgud.

Casting has not yet been announced for What the Butler Saw which is preceeded, from June 20 to July 9 (previews from June 16), by the London premiere of Helen Cooper's Three Women and a Piano.

After ten long years, Ella has completed her piano concerto but she needs the help of Liz and Beth, in order to get it performed. There are, however, old scores to settle first.

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