What The Butler Saw
June 4, 2012  //  By:   //  Plays, Reviews  //  Comments are off

Wilma’s Rating: [rating=3]

Vaudeville Theatre, London
How Much:
How long: 2hrs 20mins (inc interval)
Running until: 25th August 2012


To be able to appreciate this show you need to understand the writer, Joe Orton. A 1960s playwright who shocked the world with his politically incorrect methods. Working with Orton was described as a nightmare by directors who found him to be difficult to say the least. Orton could often be found in libraries, scribbling gay messages to the world in books, trying to spread the word that gay people exist.

In 1970, Ortons boyfriend bashed him to death with a hammer in a jealous rage after reading his diary and finding out he may have been unfaithful. He then took an overdose and killed himself.
So, onto the show. First of all, there is no butler in ‘what the butler saw’ but by the time you’ve realised this it doesn’t really surprise you.


Dr Prentice is disturbed in his doctors surgery by his wife, in the middle of trying to seduce a woman he is interviewing for a job.  It’s like a scene from Fawlty Towers, with Basil and Sybil arguing whilst consuming more whiskey than they do Gin at Abigail’s party!
The doctors wife is being blackmailed by the hotel porter, the doctor is trying to hide a naked woman in his surgery and then an inspector from the government turns up to investigate Dr Prentice’s practice. Cross dressing, hiding underwear in vases and injecting each other with drugs are just a few of the crazy things that happen during this fasical two hour show. Full frontal nudity by the hunky Nick Hendrix certainly gets you sitting up in your seat, making seeing the show was money well spent!
What The Butler Saw is ridiculously funny at times but oversteps the mark towards the end becoming so silly it stops being funny and just leaves you questioning the sanity of Joe Orton when he wrote the play.