What the Butler Saw | talking Scarlet | Review

“The sane must appear as strange to the mad, as the mad to the sane”

If you’re looking for an entertaining evening out this autumn, look no further than the Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne. For a night of debauchery and comedy, all be it slightly dated, Joe Ortons, What the Butler Saw, will leave you questioning the differences between rational and irrational, madness and sanity and male and female.

First staged in March 1969, it is understandable that audiences at the time were shocked and appalled at the overt sexual references and lack of respect for authority and morality. With alcohol, nudity, lost and mistaken identities, nymphomania, transvestism, incest, blackmail and bribery, it’s no wonder that Ortons final play was regarded as novel for its time.

The classic farce, set in a psychiatric clinic run by Dr Prentice (Patric Kearns) consists of the protagonist attempting to avoid the eye of Dr Rance (David Callister), and at the same time both interview and seduce the young Geraldine Barclay (Melissa Clements), conceal his illicit affair from his wife (Jenny Funnell), appease the young bellboy Nicholas Beckett (Ewan Goddard) and explain the madness, or not as the case may be, to Sergeant Match (Marcus Hutton). What results is a combination of classic English humour set at a frantic pace on a stage where there are more comings and goings than Heathrow airport! A hilarious spectacle of disintegration where normality cracks and characters descend into mental, physical and sexual confusion will cause your grip on reality to fade as the confusion grows and the play becomes more and more ridiculous!

The talking Scarlet company, directed by Patric Kearns, will be ending their tour of risqué comedy at the Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, from Tuesday 29th September to Saturday 3rd October after touring the country for the month.

With tickets starting from just £15.50 and performances at 7:45 Tuesday to Saturday and 2:30 Wednesday and Saturday, come down to the sunshine coast this week for a reasonably priced, not too late evening of comedy. Last chance!

Reviewer: Ellen Warwick

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