‘A Butler Did It!’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by June 25, 2018

‘A Butler Did It!’ is a very funny, murder comedy, written by the young award-winning playwright, Robert Scott who has sold his scripts in 30 countries. He has written dozens of one act plays and pantomimes, as well as a dozen full length plays.

This 90-minute farcical comedy is suitable for all of the family. The Modicum Theatre Perth is presenting this treasure in the Kitchen Building, within Heathcote’s Cultural Precinct, in Applecross. This cosy venue has tiered seating for the 36 seats – all with a good view.

The curtain goes up at 7.00 each Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening until the 30th June.

Use the code ‘Whodunit’ for discount on the already low priced tickets. In charge of production were Sarah Lewis and Nicholas Tan.

There was a simple but well designed, quality programme, with easily read print and clear photos of the cast.

 

The scene: The present day, in a wealthy manor on an English estate.

The set: Although the venue is only 10 x 10 metres, it is very pleasant. The team have installed a dozen LED floods, their bio-box area, seating, and still had room for a ‘genuine’ upmarket lounge. The stage had a bay window, cloaks cupboard, a three-seater settee, a comfortable chair, bookshelves, a drinks trolley and a couple of tables – and still look spacious. The excellent design by Steph Ferguson was built by the cast.

The production was well stage managed by Laura Hodges, who has an extra unexpected problem with a prop failure.

       Furious and with nostrils flaring, the world famous cinema star, Andrew Butler (Sean Wcislo) has found himself seated in a police interview room, accompanied by his adoring solicitor, DeeDee Dawson (Andrea Kendrick). The slightly thick Inspector Bridge (Ryan Partridge) starts the questioning, rapidly joined by Inspector Henderson (Sarah Lewis), an officer who has watched too many American police films and considers herself as the perfect interrogator. Andrew is not worried about the situation, just very annoyed.

       There is a flashback to a couple of days earlier. Andrew has brought his wife – of one week – Kimberley Butler (Hayley Lyons) to the funeral of his rich aunt, Francesca Bloom (Alanna van Mierlo). At the mansion house they will be joined by the rest of the family.

       The waster of the family, Freddie Butler (Jordan Holloway) has asked Andrew for a large sum of money, in cash, otherwise Freddie’s days will be numbered.

        Another brother, the pathetically shy Colin Butler (Steven Correia) and his wife, Ester (Claire Tebbutt), are shown into the lounge by the ancient retainer, the butler Jasper ‘JJ’ (Aaron O’Neil) who, when at full speed, only moves forward at half a shoe length at a time. Thankfully JJ has an obliging, ‘leggy’ maid, Sally-Ann Downing (Tarryn McGrath) to help out.

        Could the Aunt’s funeral turn into a multi-funeral?

 

Director Steph Ferguson, who was assisted by Jonathan Maddocks, did a magnificent job of selecting a wonderful cast, and producing perfect teamwork. The cast all had their own weird characteristics and personalities which they employed to the full.

With a quite large cast and a smallish stage, good choreography and movement planning was essential. Well done Launcelot Ronzan.

The costume design was the work of Tarryn McGrath. Mostly smart evening wear, there were however one or two garments that showed a great deal of thought had been put into the design.

Bella Doyle’s fine lighting design was operated smoothly by Laura Hodges, but the fader desk had a couple of dirty ‘pots’ that caused a little chaos.

Sound design and choice of music was by Ryan Partridge, and operated by Jonathan Maddocks.

Alanna handled a tricky situation – the stem of her wine glass snapped when she placed it on the table, leaving her stuck with the top half when the script required the glass to be put down. Flawlessly, she came up with a few funny lines, coupled with magnificent lateral thinking from those around her.

Great chemistry between the cast. Every single scrap of humour was squeezed out of the wonderful script by an outstanding comedic team of actors.

Give yourself a well-earned laugh and try to catch this hilarious show.