The reversal of roles in What the Butler Saw – which sees four of the main characters out of six being played by the opposite sex, chief among these prominent and respected psychiatrist Dr Prentice (played by Ariadne Sgouros) is a homage to writer Joe Orton and Queer theatre in general. The characters remain true to their original form – Ariadne sports a Hitler like mustache and her new secretary is a delicate young thing (Martin Quinn) bewildered by the shenanigans of the doctor’s rooms. Director Damielle Maas works to subvert our perceptions with this production, Orton’s dialogue offers scathing commentary to challenge the status quo.

A slow-ish start to the long first act is redeemed by a much faster pace in the last act, when all of the threads of the story are eventually woven together. Standout performances by Ariadne Sgouras as Dr Prentice and Amrik Tumber as Dr Rance provoked laughter as the two were at cross-purposes for most of the play but eventually the story climaxes to everyone’s satisfaction, however unlikely the plot is.

Yes, it is cathartic to laugh at institutions and attitudes that we deem unenlightened and old school but the said laughs need to be bigger and better in 2018 than they were in 1967. Also men in dresses and moustachioed women is just not going to cut it as subversive these days. Orton’s work is not at all dusty or outdated as director Danielle Maas points out, still subversive is as subversive does, and men in frocks still looks too much like an extended Benny Hill skit to me to be taken seriously as a study on gender identity.

What the Butler Saw is on until 3 November, for more information and tickets see: https://newtheatre.org.au/what-the-butler-saw/

Directed by Danielle Mass

Featuring: Ariadne Sgouros, Martin Quinn, Jake Fryer-Horsby, Madeleine Carr, Amrik Tumber and Andrew Guy.

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This Month in Sydney

06 - 30 June 2019
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This year’s Pride theme is “RIOT 69” One moment in time. Remembering the Riots of 1969 at the Stonewall Inn Greenwich Village. The Heroes that lead the way and fought for our rights 50 years ago. The beginning of the modern gay movement and the inspiration to the 78 er’s who paved the way in Sydney. The LGBTQI community are all under one fabulous Umbrella and together we continue to create change and acceptance. Homosexuality is no longer illegal in Australia, Marriage Equality has been achieved and our community has shown that the Riots of 1969 will always be remembered as the beginning of the Pride Movement.

Sydney Pride Festival is a grass roots festival and a time to pass on the history and raise awareness and education of our LGBTQI Charities. This year we will be putting a focus on the strength of our Community and remember our pursuit for acceptance and total Equality for all our LGBTQI brothers and sisters. Sydney Pride can reach out and help those struggling with Sexual identity, bullying, drugs or just feeling that life is too hard to stand strong and ask for help. Standing Together in Solidarity. This is Pride!