What the Butler Saw

by  Joe Orton

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  4m, 2f

"Hilarious, outrageous [...] It dazzles! [...] Wonderfully verbal, toying with words as if they were firecrackers." - The New York Times

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What the Butler Saw

by  Joe Orton

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    4m, 2f
  • SubGenre


    Farce, Period

Additional Info

Dr. Prentice, a psychiatric doctor in an exclusive private clinic, is attempting to interview (and seduce) an attractive would-be secretary, Geraldine. Unwittingly surprised by his wife, he hides the girl. The affairs multiply as Mrs. Prentice, being seduced and blackmailed by young bellhop Nicholas Beckett, has promised him the secretarial post. When a government inspector arrives, chaos, underpants, and cross-dressing lead the charge. The final tableau reveals “the missing parts of Winston Churchill” held aloft as the curtain falls. The London premiere at the Queen's Theatre in 1969 starred Coral Browne and Sir Ralph Richardson. The New York production later won the Obie Award for Best Foreign Play of the season.
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License details

  • Minimum Fee: £69 per performance plus VAT when applicable.
    Performance rights for this title are currently withdrawn.



  • Time Period: Contemporary
  • Setting: A room in a private clinic


4m, 2f
M4 (middle age)
F2 (young, middle age)
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Joe Orton

Joe Orton (1933 – 1967) was born John Kingsley Orton in Leicester and from the age of two, lived on the Saffron Lane council estate. After winning a scholarship to RADA in 1951, he met Kenneth Halliwell, an actor and writer seven years his senior. Halliwell would become Orton’s friend, mentor, lover and, eventually, hi ...

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