Play Butley

A Review Of The Play Butley

Simon Gray’s play Butley was first staged in London in 1971. The drama was made into a movie in 1973 after winning the Evening Standard Award for Best Play. This play follows the life of retired professor Ben Butley, who is dealing with the end of his marriage and a long-term affair. Joey, a former pupil, and Ben share an office now.

About the play

The action of the play is spread out over a number of hours on the same day. Two characters—a professor and a former student—are at the center of the action. They are confined to a room for the majority of the play. A desk piled high with books and papers is in the middle of the room. Butley’s office is on the same side.


The play takes a lighthearted dig at academia. The English professor in the play has to cope with several personal setbacks, including a divorce and the dissolution of his marriage. His entire world turns upside down as he finds himself in a freefall.

The relationship between the character and his lover plays a significant role in the narrative. This portrayal of a male/male connection, whose dependency on one another seems weird compared to other, more conventional male/female partnerships, is particularly successful. The character occasionally comes out as virtually self-defeating, and his irony serves as a constant reminder of his inadequacies.

The play is well-crafted art with many memorable characters, especially Joey. There are several belly-laughing moments, and the characters give some standout performances. The play is a skillfully written piece that tackles several intriguing topics, despite its lack of profundity.

About the characters

Butley is a fully developed character portrait of an exceptional mind in trouble. Butley is a complicated, vicious character who uses humor to engage with the outside world. Additionally, he never fully accepts his homosexuality’s genuine sexual nature. Instead, he conceals himself behind an odd English diversion. He asserts that time passes following GMT.

Joey, Butley’s coworker, does a great job of expressing both his reluctant admiration for his coworker and his anger at his inability to set emotional and physical limits with him. Butley clearly has a pessimistic outlook on academic life. The character’s vocal tirades occasionally appear to go straight for the heart, but they are also literary and enigmatic. They deliver their snarky asides with their distinctive comic timing.

Final views

The play Butley is one that you should definitely see. It has a lot to offer, especially if you’re curious about academics’ daily lives. A highly humorous and clever play called Butley. Butley is for you if you enjoy a little bit of dark humor and don’t mind a little seriousness. Additionally, since the play offers a unique perspective on academic conflicts, It’s a clever piece that will give you a lot to think about, despite its age. However, this might not be your best option if you’re not into scholarly plays.

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