Butler Sees Transfer to Criterion, Eight Weeks OnlyDate: 5 August 2005
As previously tipped (See The Goss, 1 Jun 2005), David Grindley’s revival of Joe Orton’s farce What the Butler Saw will transfer to the West End. The production finishes at Hampstead on 20 August and will reopen on 24 August at the Criterion Theatre, where it will have a limited eight-week season to 22 October 2005 (See News, 1 Jun 2005).
Orton's last play, What the Butler Saw was first produced in 1969, two years after the author's untimely death. In it, sex-obsessed psychiatrist Dr Prentice is frustrated in his attempts to seduce a secretary by the arrival of his nymphomaniac wife, an over-enthusiastic inspector and a dim-witted policeman.
Joe Orton’s short list of other completed plays include Entertaining Mr Sloane and Loot. In 1967, aged only 34, he was brutally murdered by his lover, Kenneth Halliwell, who then committed suicide.
Three years ago, director David Grindley had a huge hit at Hampstead Theatre with his 25th anniversary production of Mike Leigh’s Abigail's Party, which subsequently transferred for an extended, two-venue season in the West End and toured the UK. His other recent West End credits include National Anthems, starring Kevin Spacey; the David Schwimmer-led world premiere of Neil LaBute’s Some Girls; World War I drama Journey's End, which reopens at the New Ambassadors next month; and the Donmar Warehouse revival of Christopher Hampton’s The Philanthropist, starring Simon Russell Beale, which also opens next month.
What the Butler Saw opened at Hampstead on 19 July 2005 (previews from 14 July). The cast, who will reprise their performances at the Criterion, are: Malcolm Sinclair (as Dr Rance), Jonathan Coy (Dr Prentice), Belinda Lang (Mrs Prentice), Geoff Breton (Nicholas Beckett), Huw Higginson (Sgt Match) and Joanna Page (Geraldine Barclay). The production is designed by Jonathan Fensom and presented in the West End by PW Productions.
Currently at the Criterion, Tall Stories’ children’s show, The Gruffalo, continues its limited five-week West End season until 21 August (See News, 1 Jul 2005). The Orton farce will be followed, from 31 October 2005 (previews from 25 October), by the first West End revival of Simon Gray’s Otherwise Engaged. Directed by Simon Curtis, it will star Richard E Grant, Anthony Head and David Bamber and is initially booking until 28 January 2006 (See News, 20 Jul 2005).
- by Terri Paddock
NOTE: Booking has not yet opened for the West End run of this production.