Maskers' Theatre Bassetton
30th March to 3rd April 1976
|Ben Butley||Jim Smith|
|Joseph Keyston||John Carrington|
|Miss Heasman||Mary Elliott|
|Edna Shaft||Mollie Manns|
|Anne Butley||Sonia Morris|
|Reg Nuttall||Geoff Wharam|
|Mr Gardner||John Turnbull|
|For the Maskers:|
|Set Design||Kenneth Spencer|
|Set Construction||Alan Baker|
|Lighting Design||Ivan White|
|Lighting Operator||David Bartlett|
|Sound Recordist||Geoff Grandy|
|Sound Operator||Geoff Grandy, Mike Johnson|
|Technical Director||Ron Tillyer|
|Business Management||Brian Stansbridge & Graham Buchanan|
The Southampton Evening Echo wrote:
It is not often a role fits an actor as closely as Ben Butley fits Jim Smith, who opened in the Masker's production 'Butley' in Burgess Road, Southampton. Both Butley and Jim Smith are Lecturers in a university English department. And Jim has additional insight into the play --- for he spent a year teaching with the author Simon Gray in Canada.
Jim Smith's performance under Pete White's direction is a tour de force. Not surprisingly it is a part he relishes -- and he is on stage throughout the two hour play. The result is, as intended, a rewarding and moving performance, bringing out the awful and pitiful self-loathing of Ben Butley -- not just the humour. And there is plenty of that in Gray's acerbic, witty and scabrous lines.
Butley is undergoing a crisis. The play shows one disastrous day in his crumbling life -- his wife who has left him announces her intention of remarrying, his homo-sexual partner Joey is on the point of leaving and Butley is having problems with his colleagues and his students, whom he no longer wants to teach..
As well as the central performance, there is a fine and unselfish performance from John Carrington as Joey. He registers Joey's reactions to Butley's outbursts by mainly showing detached understanding.