Saturday, 6 September 2014

Jeeves and Wooster

Jeeves and Wooster
in Perfect Nonsense
Duke of York Theatre, London
I rounded off my most recent London trip with a matinee performance of Jeeves and Wooster.

The Duke of York theatre is currently undergoing a series of improvements, which explains the scaffolding. I was last there a year and a half ago, to see The Judas Kiss.

Perfect Nonsense starts with Bertie Wooster alone on the stage, seemingly surprised to see the audience already in place. Checking his watch, he immediately breaks the fourth wall to say, ''I thought we said 2.30 for 3.00!'' Unperturbed, he starts an unlikely tale based on his latest escapade. Jeeves appears soon afterwards, in the nick of time, as Wooster was just about to try playing the parts of both men.

Indeed, Jeeves appearing in the nick of time is a recurring theme of the play, as one would expect. He even manages to knock up some key pieces of scenery in his spare time. The plot, such as it is, involved Wooster being up to his neck with it in farcical fashion, as usual, and an unflappable Jeeves invariably coming to the rescue.

With a cast of just three players - two of whom switched between a number of characters - this play has something in common with The 39 Steps. Perfect Nonsense is already onto its third set of a Jeeves and a Wooster, with the pair brilliantly portrayed on this occasion by John Gordon Sinclair and James Lance respectively.

The third main character - Seppings - is played by Robert Goodale. He wrote the play, together with his brother David, based - of course - on a PG Wodehouse original, namely The Code of the Woosters.

The play ends at the Duke of York theatre on 20 September but it will be going on tour very shortly afterwards (further details are available here).

It may be Perfect Nonsense but it is hugely entertaining.

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