Butley

Simon Gray

Butley

Dominic West casts aside his Baltimore accent to become Ben Butley, an acerbic, irascible academic. Butley's already somewhat makeshift life unravels rapidly over the course of the play as he discovers his protege has found a new mentor, a less talented colleague has been awarded a book deal and his estranged wife is getting married to the most boring man in London. 3.5 out of 5 based on 13 reviews
Butley

Omniscore:

Location West End
Venue Duchess Theatre
Director Lindsay Posner
Cast Penny Downie, Dominic West, Emma Hiddleston, Cai Bridgen, Martin Hutson, Amanda Drew, Andrew McDonald Paul McGann
From June 2011
Until August 2011
Box Office
 

Dominic West casts aside his Baltimore accent to become Ben Butley, an acerbic, irascible academic. Butley's already somewhat makeshift life unravels rapidly over the course of the play as he discovers his protege has found a new mentor, a less talented colleague has been awarded a book deal and his estranged wife is getting married to the most boring man in London.

Reviews

The Evening Standard

Henry Hitchings

Gray's venomous language pours forth with a startling astringency, and director Lindsay Posner has crafted an intense and strikingly raw revival, bringing an extra measure of dramatic life to what is really a static piece... And amid the whiplash insults and the self-lacerating remarks, there are moments of genuinely deep comedy and pregnant pathos.

07/06/2011

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The Daily Express

Paul Callan

Lindsay Posner's direction is taut and it never relaxes. He keeps Butley, in his various moods, well in hand... The Butley role calls for a sense of fun, funny accents and all. Dominic West never falters.

07/06/2011

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The Financial Times

Sarah Hemming

West pitches the character beautifully, making him witty, brash and unpredictable, a performer terrified of losing his audience... [the play] never budges from one room and involves little action and a great deal of talk, which can become stodgy and irritating... But the performances in Lindsay Posner’s fine 1970s revival keep you watching.

07/06/2011

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The Guardian

Michael Billington

Butley shines like a gold coin, and one that comes with the embossed head of Dominic West, discovered in a sea of candyfloss.

06/06/2011

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The Stage

Mark Shenton

By turns gritty and witty, playful and camp, West dominates, but Lindsay Posner’s production aches with feeling throughout... The second-act scene between West, Hutson and Paul McGann as the protege’s northern boyfriend is a masterful Pinteresque battle of possession and domination.

07/06/2011

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The Daily Telegraph

Charles Spencer

West is superbly, fluently and savagely comic. But this burly and charismatic actor also achieves something even harder... Even as you laugh, and Butley seems perversely, irresistibly intent on making his terrible situation even worse, West never forfeits sympathy... In this thrilling performance West somehow combines comedy with tragic depth

08/06/2011

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The Times

Libby Purves

Lindsay Posner, the director, should not worry if laughs are not as audible as Gray’s deadly humour and his sharp staging deserve. You don’t laugh aloud when you are engrossed

07/06/2011

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The Sunday Express

Mark Shenton

This bitter, brilliant portrait of an alcoholic academic on a journey of poignant, self-immolating destructiveness is played with lacerating brilliance by Dominic West

12/06/2011

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The Sunday Times

Christopher Hart

One problem here is that he’s not nearly funny enough, and the only possible justification for a Butley is that he should have us in tears of laughter, creating comic chaos around him and intoxicating us all with the wild possibilities of his drunken word-spinning and erudite anarchism

12/06/2011

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The Daily Mail

Quentin Letts

The casting does not really work but Mr West cannot be faulted for effort.

09/06/2011

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The Observer

Kate Kellaway

One is conscious of the labour that has gone into the jokes – such a contrast to the unforced brilliance of Gray's diaries. And even with director Lindsay Posner confidently stirring the mix, it is impossible to ignore that the play... is thin soup.

12/06/2011

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The Independent

Fiona Sturgess

West flits between neediness and bloody-mindedness, a man who longs for the company of friends yet when they show concern ridicules them

27/05/2011

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The Independent on Sunday

Kate Bassett

I felt at times that West was just going through the motions rather than investing his antics with a real depth-charge of despair.

12/06/2011

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