Monday, 20 April 2015

JEEVES & WOOSTER in "Perfect Nonsense"
Nottingham Theatre Royal

When a country house weekend takes a turn for the worse, Bertie Wooster is unwittingly called on to play matchmaker, but also to steal a silver cow creamer from Totleigh Towers. Naturally, the ever dependable Jeeves is there to prevent Bertie from making a fool of himself in front of a cast of Wodehouse’s finest characters.

Robert Webb as Bertie Wooster is a delight to behold, continually breaking that fourth wall by toying with the audience from start to end and always with a mischievous glint in his eye.

Jason Thorpe as the ever dependable Jeeves, as well as several variable characters, forever comes to Bertie's rescue, Whether it is getting him out of harm's way or finding just the right word that is forever on the end of Bertie's tongue. Plenty of quick changes costume wise, and an absolute classic dual male/female role, reminiscent of the classic comedy style we used to see on Saturday night variety shows or vaudevillian music hall..

Christopher Ryan is bottom billing but, in my eyes, should have had joint headline status with Jason and Robert, because he also played a myriad of characters including Aunt Dahlia and the wonderful seven foot, eight foot tall Spode. You really have to see how Chris achieves this as he is the smallest member of the trio.

There's lots of running around, quick costume changes (and some not so quick), various appearances of actors from different parts of the revolving set, and a lovely novel comedy way of revolving the sets is on hand as well. There is a lovely timed piece of slow motion comedy done in the the of the old black and white "strobed" movies, all revolving around the cow creamer.

Wonderfully and whimsically written by  Pelham Grenville (P.G.) Wodehouse, this is gentle comedy that all the family can enjoy, bordering on mild slapstick, or posh panto. in places.

Technically, it is a very clever play, and the timing for the sound effects is perfect. Ben and Max Ringham are the music and sound designers. the lighting of this play is also cleverly thought out with the design for this done by James Farncombe.

I loved the simple but elegant style of clothes from the 1930's, which is the era for this play, and there are some lovely fashion accessories for the smartly dressed aristocrat such as Bertie, as are both man servant roles, adding to the ambience of the play. Costume designer and the wonderful set design is by Alice Power.

"Jeeves and Wooster" is an ideal vehicle for all three actors and is an innocent and playful slice of comedy for anyone who likes an inoffensive titter or two. While seemingly simple though, it is a very clever piece of theatre, which must be down to Sean Foley as the director.

"J & W" is on at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 25 April 2015

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