British farce, ‘What The Butler Saw’ comes to NCTC

From left Randy Drake, Brian Walsh, Robby Culp, Chaz Ferguson, Ann Kohen, Trey Stephens.  In front, Scott Pollak. Photo/Kelsey G

By Tony Daniel
Special to The Citizen

The Newnan Community Theatre Company kicks off the 2010 season tonight with their production of “What The Butler Saw.” Written by Joe Orton, this over-the-top British comedy sets the farcical tone early, when Dr Prentice (played by Trey Stephens) tries to seduce his newest employee, Geraldine (played by Jennifer Sovik). When the good doctor’s wife catches him in the act, the fun begins. The characters fly in and out, and insanity takes over.

Director Lenton Lees jumped at the chance to head up this show. Lees, a longtime fan of British comedy, takes his inspiration from the Monty Python comedy troupe. “How can you not like the British sense of humor?” he asked. “The timing is so quick, the outrageous plotlines, it’s a controlled madness, just barely controlled.”

Lees admits that the auditions were tough for a show like this. “It’s hard to teach comedic timing,” he says. “It’s almost an inborn thing. You have to be able to pick up the punch quickly, or you miss it completely. We are going to keep the audiences on their toes, that’s for sure. Turn your head for a second, you’ll miss a joke.”

Alongside Stephens and Sovik, there are some newcomers to the NCTC stage. Ann Kohen plays Mrs. Prentice, the doctor’s wife who has a problem with alcohol and rudeness. Dr. Rance, played by Randy Drake, is a manic bundle of psychoses and neuroses. They are joined by NCTC alumni Scott Pollak, playing the narrator, Sir Arthur Hillary, and Chaz Ferguson as Nick, the immature, annoying man with his own agenda.

Lees laughingly warns, “This show is definitely a PG-13 show. The humor is based on situations involving men and women and, well, we all know what trouble men and women can get into when left to their own accord. From the opening moments, what ensues is a wild combination of disappearances, disguises, and discoveries as husband and wife try to hide all their mistakes and missteps from one another and the authorities.”

Show dates for the comedy are Jan. 29, 30, 31 and Feb. 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, and 14. Show time is 8 pm on Friday and Saturday evenings and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. The theatre has recently installed new seating in their main stage auditorium. Reservations or pre-purchase of tickets is highly recommended in order to guarantee a seat. Tickets may be purchased or reserved by logging into the theatre’s website, newnantheatre.org. Reservations can also be made by calling the theatre at 770-683-6282 or emailing info@newnantheatre.org. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and $8 for children.

Newnan Community Theatre Company has been providing live entertainment in downtown Newnan for over 30 years. The theatre is located at 24 1st Avenue. Upcoming auditions include “Death of a Salesman” on February 1 and 2 and “Cabaret” on March 8 and 9. The next show at the theatre is “And Baby Makes Seven” which opens at the end of February.