The Butler Did It (Kelly)

by  Tim Kelly

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  5m, 5f

This comedy parodies every English mystery play ever written with a decidedly American flair. When they're not busy tripping over clues, they trip over each other! Laughs collide with thrills, and the climax is a real seat-grabber as the true killer is unmasked, and almost everyone turns out to be someone else!

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The Butler Did It (Kelly)

by  Tim Kelly

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    5m, 5f
  • Duration

    Duration

    75 Minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Farce, Mystery/Thriller, Parody / Spoof
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

This comedy parodies every English mystery play ever written: but it has a decidedly American flair. Miss Maple, a dowager with a reputation for "clever" weekend parties, invites a group of detective writers to eerie Ravenswood Manor on Turkey Island where they are to impersonate their fictional characters. The hostess has arranged all sorts of amusing incidents: a mysterious voice on the radio, a menacing face at the window, a mad killer on the loose. Who is that body in the wine cellar anyway? Why do little figurines keep toppling from the mantle? Then a real murder takes place, and Miss Maple is outraged. She offers an immense reward to the "detective" who can bring the killer to justice. And what an assortment of zany would-be sleuths! When they're not busy tripping over clues, they trip over each other! Laughs collide with thrills, and the climax is a real seat-grabber as the true killer is unmasked, and almost everyone turns out to be someone else! Can be played as a pure farce, or as humorous satire.
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Reviews

"Successfully interweaves all the classic elements with an imaginative approach [...] a stylish cross between Ten Little Indians and The Cat and The Canary [...] Great fun and strictly for laughs [...]" - Green Sheet, Sun Valley, CA

"Kelly knows how to write a spiney mystery with a generous injection of wild humor [...] as good as any dramatic representation of an Agatha Christie or an Erle Stanley Gardner title would be on stage." - Arizona Journal

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $125 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Present Day
  • Duration: 75 Minutes
  • Setting: Ravenswood Manor, an isolated estate on Turkey Island, off the coast of San Francisco. The present.
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)

Casting

5m, 5f
HAVERSHAM - a young housemaid, an ex-convict.
RITA - a social secretary.
MISS MAPLE - a well-known society hostess.
FATHER WHITE - a mystery writer.
CHANDLER MARLOWE - another.
LOUIE FAN - another.
RICK - another.
LAURA - another.
PETER FLIMSEY - another.
CHARITY - another.
MABEL DUPRE - an adventuress.
PHARAOH LINK - a San Francisco police detective.
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast

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Authors

Tim Kelly

Kelly was born in Saugus, Massachusetts on October 2, 1932. He graduated from Emerson College with a bachelor's degree and received a masters degree in play-writing from Yale University. His first stage play was Widow's Walk, published in the 1960s. At the same time, three of his plays opened: A Darker Flo ...

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