4 April 2004: Orton, What the Butler Saw

Matinee. Huntington Theatre Company (Boston University). Directed by Darko Tresnjak

A fine, enjoyable production in its closing performance. I was told that the Boston Phoenix review had complained about an unsatisfactory production, and a friend of my companion said she thought it was “flaccid” (Orton would have loved that complaint) and nobody was laughing. All I can say is that, by its closing perform­ance, this production had a very brisk pace and the audience was laughing hard and enjoying itself throughout. Actors were well cast and well rehearsed, and effective in their roles, with the exception of Susan O’Connor as Geraldine Barclay, who had a wonderful little-girl voice but whose diction was far from flawless. English accents were good, varied and appropriate; costumes were tacky-fifties — or sixties, I suppose; and the set, designed by David P. Gordon, was bright, airy, and spacious, opening up plenty of room for farcical knockabout action but not so large as to present inconveniently great distances for characters to negotiate. Paxton Whitehead was especially good as Dr Rance, the government inspector. A brilliant characterization by Orton. The “original ending” (thus, the program) was performed, featuring a very much oversized phallus.


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An American Playgoer at Home by Joseph Donohue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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