What the Butler Saw, Vaudeville Theatre, May 2012.
This was a surprise addition to my theatre calendar for 2012: an unexpected trip to London for work, some lieu time and a May Madness Offer from Lastminute.com all worked in my favour and after a lot of deliberation I decided to see Orton's What the Butler Saw.
I found the play to be a very full on experience from the instant the curtain rose and it wasn't until the 2nd act that I felt I had got in my stride to go with the humour, I almost felt that a 'warm up act' was needed like you get at some stand up comedy shows just so that you are in the right mindset for when the action starts.
Like most of the plays I've seen so far this year this was truly a comedy (nay farce) and I enjoyed the performances of all six actors immensely, as to be expected Tim McInnerny is brilliant but I found Omid Djalili's style of delivery spot on for his role.
I knew nothing about the play before seeing it which was a delight for as the plot became more and more farcical I was swept up and eager to see how it was all going to resolve itself.
I can't say that this was the best play I've seen, and to be honest it would probably fall in the bottom half of a ranked list. I can't quite put my finger on why, I liked the actors, the acting and the scenery. I also laughed a lot - especially in the second half. I'll also never again be able to look at a statue of Winston Churchill without sniggering. There's even full frontal (good looking) male nudity. But...
Perhaps a comedy/farce like this needs to be a shared experience? I saw this alone and sat in an area of the theatre that was sparsely populated...
It was great for the £10 I paid for the ticket but not one I want to see again, or that I can put my hand on my heart and recommend. I am left wondering if I shouldn't have paid the same money and gone to see The King's Speech.
When I saw the play it was still in preview, and it isn't until May 16th
that the press night is held and it is officially 'open'.