The decision to move away from the traditional Bar Reception for the first night of Talking Scarlett’s latest offering in Eastbourne, replacing it with a question and answer session with the cast in the auditorium, certainly paid off.  There could have been no better choice of subject for the deviation than this production of Joe Orten’s farce What the Butler Saw.  First performed in London in 1969 it was Orten’s final play and it had premiered some two years after he was brutally murdered at the age of 34 by his longstanding partner and lover, Kenneth Halliwell.

As the audience gathered before the show in front of the patriotically coloured red, white and blue set, they were entertained by a play-list of memorable tunes from the 1960s – such a trademark of Talking Scarlett productions.

(l-r): Ewan Goddard, Melissa Clements, Jenny Funnell, Patric Kearns, David Callister, Marcus Hutton

(l-r): Ewan Goddard, Melissa Clements, Jenny Funnell, Patric Kearns, David Callister, Marcus Hutton

During the well received post-show question and answer session with the cast and audience, Talking Scarlett’s artistic director, Patric Kearns – who not only directed the play and designed the set, but took to the stage himself in one of the leading roles as Dr Prentice – admitted that this play is one of his personal all-time favourites.    Patric acknowledged that he was captivated by Orton’s superlative writing and by the excitement of producing a play first performed amid great furore in the late sixties, but which even in these more tolerant times still has the capacity to shock with its hilarity and obscenity!

When asked “How do you direct and rehearse farce?” Patric responded, “Ninety percent of directing is casting”.  That certainly worked with this show and, in the words of one local theatre critic, the other ten percent – the teamwork he then coaxed from this chosen cast – is close to perfect!

We look forward to welcoming back Patric and his company very soon – although one member of this particular cast (Ewan Goddard) will be flying into the Devonshire Park as Peter Pan in the not too distant future!