What the Butler Saw

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2007, 12:00am

What the Butler Saw

Perry Chiu Experimental Theatre

Kwai Tsing Theatre

Reviewed: Aug 25

There's no butler in this play by British playwright Joe Orton. The title refers to a kind of peep- show entertainment in Edwardian England whereby people would view erotic pictures through a small lens. The work - as its Chinese title aptly suggests - is a piece of voyeurism that offers the audience a glimpse into the private sexual conduct of its characters.

Under the direction of Desmond Tang Wai-kit, the Perry Chiu Experimental Theatre has taken on a callenging work: it's difficult to produce such a complicated farce without making it boring and humourless.

Rensen Chan is a lusty psychiatrist who tries to take advantage of a young, innocent woman (Ursule Wong) applying for a secretarial job at his clinic. Just as he persuades her to take all her clothes off for an 'examination', his wife (Perry Chiu) arrives. She's recovering from a night with a hotel bellboy (Wong Ka-wai) that went horribly wrong. Chan's attempt to cover up his lewd act leads to a series of misunderstandings, which are exacerbated by the arrival of a senior psychiatrist and an inspector looking for the bellboy.

A lot of the farce is a charade of mistaken identities, with the bellboy, the naive secretary and the inspector switching roles - and clothes.

Tang does a good job of telling a story packed with sexual innuendo, although the pacing is uneven throughout and the actors' comic timing is a little off the mark.

Chung Yin-sze's translation, with many local references, works well and Gary Tam stands out as the oddball senior psychiatrist.

Daily, 8pm, HK$150-HK$230. Ends Fri. Inquiries: 2734 9009