Syracuse NY Post-Standard 15 Nov 1976

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Syracuse NY Post-Standard 15 Nov 1976 - OftOH 'S 'Bltf Z^f ' CI 'COVCT - M/> Caper' By...
OftOH 'S 'Bltf Z^f ' CI 'COVCT - M/> Caper' By NBVART AP1K1AN Joe Orton's "What the Butler Saw" is the wildest comedy ever presented by Syracuse Stage. There isn't any butler in the play. That shouldn't be surprising since the action takes place in a "madhouse where unusual behaviour is in the order of the day." As has become usual, just about every seat was filled at the 200 - capacity Experimental Theater at the Regent, where the farce opened Saturday night; Performances continue for three weeks. The psychiatric clinic setting outside London as visualized by Virginia Dancy arid Elmon Webb is handsome. The consulting room scene also "Works" for the action of the characters, who race around arid pop in and out of their clothes. They all may be sane, but their actions appear bizarre. It's a comedy of manners, with plenty of witty dialogue, married to a French bedroom farce. . Robert Moberly, a favorite of Syracuse Stage productions, returns in the role of Dr. Prentice, head of the clinic. His interview of a pretty young woman for a secretarial position turns up the answer that her step mother was killed in a gas explosion where pieces of Sir Winston Churchill's statue were embedded in her. Even death becomes comic. • • Elaine Bromka is delightful as the naive young woman who is saved from seduction in the examination room by the premature arrival of the doctor's wife, Madeleine le Roux. She's left behind curtains sans clothes while her dress is put on (backwards) by the wife who has just escaped a seduction at a hotel by a bellboy. John Guerrassio, the bellboy, turns up with a blackmail threat and an offer to return her dress - for a price. He's followed by a police sergeant; Douglas Fisher, who wants to arrest him for sexual advances on a bevy of schoolgirls at the hotel. This may have continued "all in the family" except for the arrival of Nicholas Hormann as a doctor from her majesty's government, inspecting the clinic. Everyone is covering up something r - as well as cov ering themselves up in another's clothing. Miss Bromka, mistaken for a patient arid certified as "mad," is strapped down over her protests and wheeled out. She pleads with Moberly to tell the truth and straighten out the situation. The play is a superb exam - pie of how one lie leads to another and another till a J thoroughly insane situation develops. It may be called the cover - up caper. Timing is of the essence and the actors are excellent = in choreographing their moves. (Note the swift play at ■ the chess board as both doctors chase the girl.) Then there is the amusing way Hormann drapes himself over a chair as he discusses his book about "mad" patients • ' and cases. Guerrassio is entertaining in the guise of the young secretary. Miss le Roux has style as the blonde with M kinky ideas about sex. Orton's "What the Butler Saw," was unfinished at the i time of his death and Joseph Hardy, the director of the New York production, finished the play for its 1970 run. ' He used the discovery of long - lost twin sister and brother, a la Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." It is ab - , surd and a comic way to conclude this trip into the absurdity of life. And it is ah oddly happy ending. . : ; SYRACUSE POST - STANDARD, Nov; 15, 1976 ■ 9 j

Clipped from
  1. The Post-Standard,
  2. 15 Nov 1976, Mon,
  3. Page 9

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