The Doctor Will See You Now
Act I - Lights off! Raise the curtain!
There’s a new player in town and you’d better get ready to laugh your asses off! I’ve met up with local theatre company TBC who are putting on their first play ‘What The Butler Saw’ this weekend, a whirlwind of a comedy that will make your head spin.
Now, if you’re like me - one of those people who think they’re exceptionally funny, but are never quite impressed with anyone else’s sense of humour - let me say this, you will guffaw like no one is watching. Or to put it in slightly different words: Welcome to the Madhouse.
Act II - The doctor will see you now
‘What the Butler Saw’ is a farce by brilliant playwright Joe Orton, written and set in the mid-60s of London. The two-act play takes place in the surgery of slightly mental and incompetent Dr. Prentice, a middle-aged sexually repressed and obsessed psychiatrist. It kicks off with the doctor
trying to seduce interviewing naive and clueless Geraldine Barclay for a secretary position. What follows is a comedy-of-errors in a nutshell: “a series of misdemeanours and misunderstandings which let the six characters descend into an insane and hilarious Sodom and Gomorra.”
Rance: A search party must be organised. What have you in the way of dogs?
Prentice: A spaniel and a miniature poodle.
Rance: Let them be unleashed!
‘What the Butler Saw’ is a very energetic and physical piece, so you can expect wrestling, people throwing themselves on the floor and flying through the doorway – in short: you won’t ever get bored. The scenes are packed with the whole spectrum of fun, from subtle suggestions to slapstick, via cross-dressing and clever dialogues chasing one other.
And for those of you who think that all this British humour might just sail right over your heads, good news! I was assured by the American side of TBC that despite its British character, the play is outrageously funny for yanks. Fantastic!
The life of English playwright Joe Orton ended in a tragedy: he was murdered with nine hammer blows to the head
Act III - Cool story, but who are the TBC people, and will they put on a good show?
Well, TBC stands for ‘to be confirmed’ or ‘to be continued’, and they are made up of nine charming individuals from the UK, Canada, Australia and the US. Better known as the nicest bunch of people you will ever encounter.
The crew met during rehearsals for ‘Rosencrantz and Guildernstern Are Dead’ (East West Theatre) in the spring of 2011, the chemistry was right, and they’ve been working together ever since.
Instead of following the more conventional path of having a director, co-director, producer and so on, TBC function as a collective without any traditional hierarchies or roles. As all of the members have daytime occupations, they are dedicating most of their free time to the play on zero budget – which is working surprisingly well!
“We're like a pop-up theatre group; we may carry on after the performances this weekend and go on a ‘Tour de Farce’ around pubs in Shanghai”
When I met up with TBC during their rehearsals, they granted me a sneak peek of the play. Seeing them act, you instantly know that this group is passionate about comedy; they are excited to entertain and their enthusiasm is highly contagious. By simply giving you a very good laugh, TBC are offering something different and a lot more light-hearted than what Shanghai theatre typically has to offer.
Act IV - Are you finally finished?
Yes. Now go and see the play.
TBC will perform ‘What the Butler Saw’ on May 11th, 12th and 13th, 8pm at Downstream Garage.
A donation in form of RMB will be very appreciated (80RMB suggested). However, if you’re broke, skint, or on the rocks they won’t turn you away from the door. Pay as much as you see fit, everyone deserves a good laugh!
Seating is limited, so RSVP via email@example.com or 147 8265 1577 is highly advised.
“It kicks off with the doctor interviewing a secretary, from then on it descends into a hilarious and insane Sodom and Gomorra”