I don't often watch plays in the theatre, I've always watched more musicals and dance productions as they've always drawn me in just a little more than plays have. Curve Theatre is bringing back Leicester's very own playwright Joe Orton's work What The Butler Saw to the stage before it's run at the Theatre Royal in Bath, 50 years since his death. This rebirth of his final play is being given the Made At Curve production treatment bringing a contemporary classic to modern times and was well worth stepping out of my comfort zone for. 


What I loved about this play foremost was it's relevance in topical subjects of sexuality and relationships that it wasn't cautious of doing. The playwright Joe Orton himself was somebody who didn't shy away from his presenting his own sexuality as well as the black comedic style plays he produced, they brought moral corruption, violence and sexual thievery to the audiences so I didn't know what to expect from What The Butler Saw. The play which he had not seen before his passing. 

What The Butler Saw is definitely no different from the other plays Orton has come known for, it's balance of both the madness and random storyline made for quick paced performance. The perspective style performance space itself is transformed into a squeaky, clinically clean doctor's office where the audience are unaware of the chaos that is about to unravel before their eyes. The plot is completely bonkers, quite ridiculous but extremely hilarious to witness it being played out. The transitions between the quick wit, entrances and exits had the audience members in roars of laughter. 

I wasn't familiar with the script and it's conclusion was definitely not what I had expected and the production really took you on a rollercoaster you had not expected to happen. It moves at a rapid pace and will need your entire attention to be able to fully grasp the many different parts of the plot from the different characters. 


The play itself hosted a calibre of 6 professional and well experienced actors who were able to immerse themselves within the structure of Orton's piece comfortably. Rufus Hound is known for his comedic talents and so his performance as Dr Prentice suited him well. At times the dialogue came out rather shaky but did not distract from his sex-obsessed Psychiatrist character, a pinnacle individual in the plot. I loved watching Dakota Blue Richards shine out as the young Geraldine Barclay, little does her character know that applying to become Dr Prentice's new Secretary at his practice would result in a full medical examination, and even more drastically in need of psychiatric help. Dakota demonstrated how much she had grew into a incredibly strong stage performer over the years. 

Returning to the Curve, Catherine Russell takes on the role as unexpected wife of Mr Prentice, Mrs Prentice. Discovering her husband in the possession of women's clothing, little does she know that just over the way a young girl sits barely clothed. Mrs Prentice arrives from her stay at the Station Hotel after being raped and robbed by the hotel bell boy, Nicholas Beckett, played by Jack Holden. To make things even get more bonkers when we realise this hotel bell boy is the person who committed the act on Mrs Prentice. We discover more and more about each individual character that develops this idea that the plot is growing in it's madness! 

The two characters that bring this production together to add more but better layers of the madness are Dr Rance, Jasper Britton to arrives to carry out a government inspection but opens a can of worms, therefore never initially carrying out what he came to do. Lastly being closely followed by Sergeant Match, Ravi Aujla who is in search of missing parts of Winston Churchill.

What The Butler Saw is an eruption of chaos, cross-dressing, mistaken identity but definitely a fantastic comedy performance that is well worth watching.

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*I was gifted this ticket in exchange for a review, but all words and opinions are my own.