Billed as murder mystery theatre, where the audience gets to decide where the plot twists take the show in a broadway musical setting (the playground for people who will do anything for fame), Butlers and Broadway is boisterous, over-the-top theatre.
It is heavy on the audience participation and for that reason does not easily lend itself to much depth and character development or even great suspense build-up. It merely presents an opportunity for instant laughs and frivolous fun. Nothing wrong with that, if that I what you are in the mood for. Even though it is not a theatre experience that appealed to me personally, the rest of the audience appeared to enjoy it.
As I am more of the subtle double entendre (risqué but not indecent), social commentary comedy, dry dark humour with depth kind of gal, this was not a theatre experience that appealed to me personally, as that is not the kind of comedy that Butlers and Broadway dishes up. But to be fair, that is not what it promised to be and the audience in general appeared to enjoy every moment of it
After the show I was trying to describe the production to a fellow theatre fanatic, and what I came up with was this: If Leon Schuster had to direct the TV series Smash as a whodunit, Butlers and Broadway would be the end product. Comedy genre wise, it is somewhere between farce and slapstick; more eye poke, pie in the face type laughs without the Three Stooges physical theatre flair, or the SNL skit nuances.
It is very much belly-laughs sans brain power in approach, and possibly undermines the talent of the actors on stage. I suspect that they have more to offer performance wise than this show gives them space and opportunity.
Whether you find Butlers and Broadway entertaining will depend greatly on personal comedy preference, as well as your frame of mind at the time you walk into the show: for some it may amount to hilarity, for others travesty. However, there is no denying that it s a crowd pleaser for most, so if you want to go check it out at Cape Town Fringe, you still have until 8 October to do so. Book online at www.capetownfringe.co.za