A SCRIPT from Monty Python’s Eric Idle is the latest offering from Phoenix Theatre this August, as it brings the fast-paced, satirical comedy of bad manners to the stage.
Directed by Peter Nettleton, Pass The Butler is set in mid-1980s England and revolves around the Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party who suffers a heart attack during a vigorous parliamentary debate.
His family has to decide whether they should switch off his life-support while considering all the legal, moral, political and possibly constitutional ramifications.
“Essentially, it’s about an upper-class English family and their butler, who are faced with a moral dilemma that could have far-reaching repercussions,” Nettleton said.
“Throw in some paparazzi and a spanner in the works and you also get a hilarious twist in the tail.
“It’s a drawing-room comedy of satirical farce that references almost all comic genres from black comedy through to slapstick.”
Nettleton said he had long been an admirer of Idle’s work with Monty Python and first read his script for Pass The Butler about five years ago.
“I laughed out loud at least once every page and thought ‘If it's that funny off the page, what would it be like on the stage?’” he said. “As nobody else was about to do it, I decided I would have to.
“It’s pure absurdist fantasy escapism, guaranteed to take your mind off election campaigns, although there are politicians involved – but it’s still very funny.”
With a 50-year background in theatre, Nettleton first started as a backyard puppeteer at age 10 before cutting his teeth with university revues in Adelaide in the 1970s.
Since moving to WA, he has performed with Melville, Harbour, KADS and Marloo Theatres and the Graduate Dramatic Society and is currently chairman and artistic director of Phoenix Theatre.
He also shared the best supporting actor award at the 2005 DramaFest, the annual state drama festival, with Stuart Riches, who is in cast of Pass The Butler.
Nettleton said the main challenge ahead of him with his latest production was ensuring his mix of experienced and less-experienced actors reached peak performances at the same time.
“Two of the actors are also experienced directors so it's going to be hard bullying them into getting their lines down!” he said.
Pass The Butler plays at 8pm, August 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21 with a 2pm matinee on August 15.
Tickets are $20 adults, $15 concession – book on 0450 158 851, [email protected] or through BOCS on (08) 9484 1133.
Phoenix Theatre is located on the corner of Rockingham Road and Carrington Street within the Hamilton Hill Memorial Hall in Western Australia.
PTB1: Kenneth Young, right, is the butler in a script from Monty Python’s Eric Idle this August with Stuart Riches as Inspector Harris.
PTB2: Trish Farrell, left, in a script from Monty Python’s Eric Idle this August with Kenneth Young, right.
PTBA4: Shaun Griffin, Sidsel Brannick, David Pragnell, Margaret Taylor and Trish Farrell are in a script from Monty Python’s Eric Idle this August.
PTBA5: Pass The Butler features Shaun Griffin, Kenneth Young, Sidsel Brannick, David Pragnell and Margaret Taylor.
For many people within the Cockburn area and beyond, Phoenix Theatre provides one of the few chances to experience live theatre. We also provide an opportunity for people to learn the acting craft, as well as other aspects of the theatre world.
Phoenix Theatre’s actors, directors, committee members and technical crew receive no payment for the many hours of work they put in and are driven simply by their passion for theatre – and sharing it with the community.
Our location at Hamilton Hill Memorial Hall could not be more fitting, given it has been a focal point for community activities since it was originally built in 1925. As home to concert parties, singing, dancing and socials, Phoenix Theatre is proud to continue the tradition of entertaining people across the City of Cockburn.
P: 0414 443 864