Review: Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense; Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, until September 5 ? then Ipswich and Colchester
- Credit: Archant
Barking-mad Bertie Wooster and his resourceful and unflappable butler Jeeves are two of the 20th Century’s greatest comic creations
Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, by The Goodale Brothers, adapted from the words of PG Wodehouse, Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, until September 5; New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, October 13-17; Colchester Mercury October 30-November 1
Barking-mad Bertie Wooster and his resourceful and unflappable butler Jeeves are two of the 20th Century’s greatest comic creations and this new play, adapted from Wodehouse, finds the pair on wonderfully inventive form.
This new bout of inspired silliness, Perfect Nonsense, won the Olivier Award in 2014 for Best Comedy during its West End run and is now on an extensive UK tour.
The play opens on a bare stage with Wooster directly addressing the audience, attempting to act out the drama of his day.
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As expected, this is a total disaster until Jeeves arrives on the scene and is recruited to help out. Much to Wooster’s bewilderment, Jeeves starts wheeling on pieces of scenery to form the backdrop to Wooster’s self-inflicted tale of woe.
The wittiness of the writing is reflected in the inventiveness of the set design, which raises several laughs of its own along the way.
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Matthew Carter and Joseph Chance are superb as the title characters and create a real bond with the audience – not only speaking directly to them but at times involving them with the action on stage.
The third hard-working member of the team is co-writer and tour director Robert Goodale, who plays Seppings, Jeeves’ butling acquaintance. “I believe he has an aptitude for impersonations,” Jeeves observes.
Half the fun of this surreal comic confection is watching Chance and Goodale leap from character to character with barely a moment for a costume change.
The play rockets along with tremendous energy and they have huge fun creating theatrical devices to represent a storm-lashed car journey and the notion that Britain’s would-be fascist dictator, Roderick Spode, is nine-feet tall.
This latest addition to the Jeeves and Wooster canon may be perfect nonsense but it is also a breath of theatrical fresh air. Catch it if you can.