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The Butler


Thu 9 Oct 2008, 8:00pm–10:15pm

Where: The Loons, 16 Canterbury St, Lyttelton, Christchurch District

Ticket Information:

  • Adult: $26.00
  • Concession: $20.00
  • Additional fees may apply

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  • NZ drivers licence or passport
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Listed by: Darryl Cribb

Written by Joe Bennett and directed by Mike Friend, The Butler is like nothing you have ever seen (unless you saw it last time!).

Combining a Big Top spectacular with intimate comic theatre, it was originally devised to show off the skills of the young performers at Circo Arts but has now been reworked for The Loons. It is jaw-droppingly visual, fiercely satirical and very very funny.

The central character of the butler presides over a dinner party. He stands apart from the action having seen and heard it all before. His introductory and closing asides reverberate with literary allusions – drawing on Eliot, Larkin, Shakespeare, Glover, MacNeice, a ragbag of pensees from the heritage of English-speaking civilisation. Thus he sets the whole event within both a cultural milieu and a bleak universe.

In counterpoint to the butler’s gloom, the dinner party guests are all exuberance. Brittle as biscuits, they wind every social convention up to the pitch of parody and beyond. Their dialogue consists of snippets, expressive of the shallowness of behaviour, of the skull beneath the flesh. Every trivial event – the taking of hats and coats, the saying of grace, the polite chit-chat, the serving of hors- d’oeuvres, expands by natural progression into grotesque and outrageous circus antics.

The resulting action is chaotic and delightful, but underlain with an emptiness that the characters must defy. Here is froth and bubble above the dark and the stark. It’s like nothing seen before but it is instantly recognisable.

Please arrive at least 15 minutess prior to the performance (doors are open from 7.00pm). Latecomers will not be admitted to the performance.