What the
Butler Saw

By Joe Orton
Directed byJim Sharman

  • Venue Upstairs Theatre
  • Dates 26 Feb – 11 Apr 2004

    There’s no butler and any passing resemblance to a naughty West End sex farce ends with the deliberately prurient title. Instead, what Michael Billington describes as “Joe Orton’s richest and funniest play” is also one of the greatest of all stage comedies. Like Oscar Wilde on fast-forward, brain-bending one-liners and triple entendres tumble on top of one another at increasingly dizzying speed. The plot, too, never pauses for breath. It free associates its way to complete anarchy: each absurdity ricocheting logically off the previous one like marbles in a chaos theory experiment.

    Whether you see it as a black satire on the abuse of power, a savage assault on ‘respectability’, a post-Freudian dark night of the sexual soul or simply as a work of profound mischief, Orton’s wit and invention are as dazzling and fresh as ever.


    By Joe Orton
    Directed byJim Sharman
    Set Design Brian Thomson
    Costume Design Alice Lau
    Composer & Sound Design Basil Hogios
    Assistant Director Christopher Hurrell
    Stage Manager Juliette Kingcott


    Isabella Dunwill
    Nicholas Eadie
    Max Gillies
    Sam Haft
    Deborah Kennedy
    Michael McCall

    Production images by Heidrun Lohr

    Keep up to date with the latest news at Belvoir