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What The Butler Saw

May 29, 2014

WhatTheButlerSaw1Event: “What The Butler Saw” presented by The Stage Club
Venue: DBS Arts Centre
Run: 28th – 31st May 2014

See No Evil, Hear No Evil

The latest offering from The Stage Club, Singapore’s oldest theatre company, is “What The Butler Saw”, which was the final play written by English playwright Joe Orton, and is widely regarded as one of his finest.

It bears all the hallmarks of a classic farce comedy, with fast and furious action, mistaken identities, near-incomprehensible plot twists and the like.

It all starts out in the psychiatric clinic run by a Dr Prentice (played by Hunter Blake Wood), who tries to seduce the young lady (Emilie Oehlers) who is applying to be his secretary.

And when his wife (Neena Khattar) suddenly walks into the room, it triggers off a tumultuous series of highly-improbable and hilarious events.

Joe Orton throws in many incredibly sharp and amusing lines in the play, often reminding one of the great Oscar Wilde in terms of wit, humour and critique of society.

Beneath the play’s exaggerated and risqué veneer is the playwright’s commentary on society’s penchant for being quick to label or explain away anti-social behaviour, especially pertaining to the field of psychoanalysis.

It also explores the limits of sexuality and sexual morality, especially with respect to British society back in the 60’s.

The cast does a great job in trying to keep up with the play’s rigorous pace, as is most certainly required in a farce like this, although there were a few discernible flubbed lines especially early in the first act as well as a general sense of tentativeness, which could be attributable to nothing more than opening night jitters.

Hunter Blake Wood’s portrayal of the goofy and conflicted doctor with one too many skeletons in the closet is particularly entertaining to watch.

“What The Butler Saw” is everything you’d expect from a classic British farce, and makes for an entertaining evening of sharp wit and hilarity.

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