The creative team behind the Hampstead Theatre’s successful 2002 revival of Abigail’s Party have reunited to bring another revival to a venue mainly known for new writing. David Grindley’s production of Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw opens July 21.
Abigail’s Party transferred to the Whitehall Theatre, now the Trafalgar Studios, and Grindley has been a constant presence in London theatre ever since. He directed the long-running staging of Journey’s End as well as National Anthems for Kevin Spacey’s Old Vic Company and Some Girls with David Schwimmer at the Gielgud. Coincidentally, his last Orton production, Loot, won him his first London transfer (from Chichester).
What the Butler Saw features Geoff Breton as Nicholas Beckett, Jonathan Coy as Dr. Prentice, Huw Higginson as Sergeant Match, Belinda Lang as Mrs. Prentice, Joanna Page as Geraldine Barclay and Malcolm Sinclair as Dr. Rance. Set design is by Jonathan Fensom, lighting by Jason Taylor and sound design by Gregory Clarke.
The play was Orton’s last. A farce, it tells of Dr. Prentice’s ever-more frantic attempts to conceal his attempted infidelity with Geraldine, and that’s when things really get complicated.
According to the Internet Broadway Database, What the Butler Saw has never been performed on Broadway. The last Orton revival on the Great White Way was of Loot in 1986, when the cast included Alec Baldwin and Zoe Wanamaker. The last London revival of Butler, in 2001, starred Alison Steadman.