Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense - review

Ohhh Saturday night was heaps of fun! It seems like ages ago already (sob!) but it's always wonderful to have lovely memories to look back on. 

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After dinner and coffee and a hair-raising rickshaw ride through London with my Matron of Honour and one of my bridesmaids (another story for another time!) we arrived at the Duke of York's Theatre, and settled into our fabulous seats in the third row of the stalls. 

The premise of the show is that Bertie Wooster is presenting a show in the West End about the recent events surrounding his dispatch to Totleigh Towers by his Aunt Dahlia in order to steal an antique silver cow creamer. Knowing it's Bertie Wooster who's involved, things are not straightforward and he gets into all manner of hilarious scrapes as he tries to please his Aunt, as well as remedy all the other troubles he gets into en route. Who's going to help him get through this unscathed? It has to be Jeeves.

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Stephen Mangan is a hilariously goofy Bertie Wooster, stumbling from scrape to scrape with an enormous grin and a fabulously infectious laugh. I particularly loved the beginning of the second act, when the curtain rises to Bertie lying in the path playing happily with a rubber duck.

The wonderful Matthew Macfadyen is the fabulously stiff upper-lipped Jeeves, who saves the day and doesn't break a sweat while tying Bertie's bow tie and ensuring he's always immaculately dressed at the same time. He also plays a number of other characters as, being a three-man show, Matthew Macfadyen and Mark Hadfield (who plays Sepping the butler) have to fill out the remaining characters. 

The other characters, with names like Stiffy Byng and Gussie Fink-Nottle, are characterised by ludicrous wigs, glasses and, in one case, an ever-increasing fascist mac. Fantastic props, a clever set design, absolutely delicious language (the mac-wearer is described at one point as having "the sort of eye that can open an oyster at 60 paces") and filled with lashings of slapstick comedy. At one point, Macfadyen has to play two characters at the same time with uproarious results. 

The cast bounced their way through the entire play, with so much energy, and the time flew by. I would love to go again and if you get the chance to watch it, you really must go! 

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