Theatre Mirror Reviews - "What The Butler Saw"

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entire contents copyright 2001 by Robert Guenthner

"What The Butler Saw"

Reviewed by Robert Guenthner AKA oldgrump

"What The Butler Saw"
by Joe Orton
Directed and Produced by Linda Strano

Stage Manager Al Anderson
Set Construction Bruce Church

Bob Emery..............................Dr. Prentice
Terra DeMartin-Anderson.....Mrs. Prentice
Michelle Bergeron...........Geraldine Barclay
Jamie Lantinen...................Nicholas Becket
Robin Frank................................Dr. Rance
Steve Wilkinson.................Sergeant Match

When you buy a ticket to a community theater production, you don't expect to see Tony Award acting. You do expect to be entertained, and get your monies worth. This comedy made me wish I had a few Pampers handy. I haven't laughed that much in a long, long time. What The Butler Saw is a British sex farce, somewhat reminiscence of Benny Hill. Instead of a slapstick Benny, this lead is a dignified doctor. The humor is Bennys', sexual innuendoes flew fast and furious. Several times the actors were in a revolving door mode, moving on and of the stage rapidly, but stopping long enough to deliver belly laughs lines.

The play takes place in the consulting room of a private phyciatric clinic. Bob is interviewing Michelle for a secretaries position. Bob is a dirty old man. Michelle a beautiful and shapely young lady. He convinces her to submit to a physical exam. She steps behind a curtain and disrobes. Bobs facial expressions are hilarious as he collects her discarded clothing. What follows is typical British humor. Terra shows up, forcing Bob to hide Michelle. Terra is being blackmailed by Jamie, a handsome lad, who works in a hotel that Terra spent the previous night in. He took porno pictures of her, and is demanding money. He would also like to have honest employment. Terra suggests the secretaries job. If you think this causes confusion, just wait. Robin is a government doctor investigating the clinic. She dreams of writing a sex expose book and making her fortune. She misinterprets everything. Robin goes from a snobbish, very proper investigator to a side splitting nut with a rubber face, very difficult to do when you are such a pretty girl. Michelle is passed off as a patient, and is sedated. Michelle in her drug induced stupor is so very funny, a comedian who is also good looking. Now Steve enters looking to arrest Jamie. If I am confusing you with my explanation, I apologize. It is very difficult to remember all that is happening when your eyes are filled with tears of laughter.

< The story has to many twists and turns to list. We find out in the end, that Jamie and Michelle are twins, who were separated and given away at birth. Terra is their mother, who conceived them when she was assaulted in the closet of the same hotel that Jamie tried to assault her in. Now! Bob admits he was the man who did the assaulting and is the father. Thank goodness the play ended, my head was spinning. Michelle dressing as a boy, the boys dressing as girls, Terra running around shooting a gun at everybody, and marital confusion. WOW!

The entire cast did a magnificent job, worthy of a larger professional stage.

Linda did a fantastic job directing, this play could have been a flop instead of a farce. The set was perfect, from the office desk, to a living room, to a hospital bed, closets, and a garden door, all on a smallish stage with out a crammed look. Everything and more.

To say this theater is cozy would be an understatement, approximently 75 seats in a semi circle. A gift is even drawn, this night a potted plant, all this for $8.00, what a place. This definitely will not be my only trip here. The show has ended its short run. The list of upcoming plays can be obtained at # 781 793 0774

Robert Guenthner AKA oldgrump

" What The Butler Saw " (11 - 20 May)
Lower level--Sharon Community Center, Off Massapoag Avenue, SHARON MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide