Butley Icon
Duchess Theatre
Catherine Street WC2B 5LA
by Simon Gray
Duchess Theatre 3D mapMap ©Silvermaze Ltd 2008 Duchess theatre photoPhoto ©Tony Reading 2008
Show Details
Preview 1st Jun 11
Opens 6th Jun 11
Booking to 27th Aug 11
Show Times
Mon - Sat 7.30 pm
Matinée Thurs, Sat 3.00 pm

Local Info
Top Class restaurants nearby;

Mon Plaisir (French)
21 Monmouth Street
020 7836 7243

Loch Fyne (Fish & Seafood)
2 - 4 Catherine Street
020 7240 4999
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Paul McGann    
Paul McGann    
Butley Poster
    Pennie Downey
    Pennie Downey

A classic viewing of all the Theatreland play houses by night. The authentic commentary, by Ben Shafik - a player himself - gives an authentic feel to the West End's theatres - and is backed by real music.
Next version will be more upbeat as, suggested, to celebrate Britannia's unbeatable heritage.
(Over 6000 viewings and all good reviews to date).
Let us know what you think.

A note from the author

I took these pictures to show off London theatres as they are seen -most often - by theatre goers, at night.

Thanks to Ben Shafik for his lighthearted and informative commentary and Fionn O'Lochlainn for the original music.

Watch out for the new version with current liveries and the names of the theatres as they appear.



Dominic West
Dominic West
"Simon Gray asked me to direct Butley in 1970. I found its savage, lacerating wit hard to beat and accepted the invitation... The extraordinary thing about Butley, it still seems to me, is that the play gives us a character who hurls himself towards the destruction while  living, in the fever of his intellectual hell, with a vitality and brilliance known to few of us. He courts death by remaining ruthlessly – even  dementedly – alive. It’s a remarkable creation....."
Harold Pinter

The play is a witty comedy about a charismatic and dynamic Ben Butley who is taking his level of audacious and cutting humour to the wire to fend off a series of events - all calamities at the same time. Normally he finds that making mischief can delay things for long enough for him to bring things back under control. This time just too much is going on.

Martin Hutson
Martin Hutson
Ben Butley's list of problems seems endless and his weapons of mass confusion turn around on him threatening to destroy him. His wife has fallen for another man he feels is too much below him - His ex pupil Joey has slipped from under his wing to find another benefactor and to top it all - the loser in his own English department at university where he teaches, gets a book deal.

His skills in trouble-making and rhetoric finally failed him - compounding what seems to be his own demise. Meantime nobody escapes his cutting tongue.
Harold Pinter

Butley, a comedy by Simon Gray, opens at the Duchess Theatre 6 June 2011, following previews from 1 June - booking to 27 August 2011.


  • Dominic West - Ben Butley
  • Pennie Downey - Edna Shaft
  • Paul McGann - Reg Nuttall
  • Amanda Drew - Anne Butley
  • Joseph Keyston - Martin Hutson
  • Amanda Drew - Anne Butley
  • Martin Hutson - Joseph Keyston (Joey)
  • Cai Brigden - Mr Gardner
  • Emma Middleton - Miss Neasman


  • Andrew McDonald, Rhiannon Sommers,
    Andrew Nolan
    - understudies

  • Author - Simon Gray
  • Designer - Peter McKintosh
  • Lighting - Howard Harrison
  • Casting - Maggie Lunn
  • Director - Lindsay Posner
  • Assistant Director - Ton Attenborough
  • Producers
    Eleanor Lloyd, Mark Rubinstein Ltd, Lee Menzies,
    Dena Hammerstein / Pam Parbeau
  • Coproducer - Jay Harris
  • PR - The Corner Shop

This play is an education and a profound thought provoker - I should see it if I were you.

©Covent-Garden.co.uk 2017 Updated 24th May 2011