Skip to main content

Review of Jeeves & Wooster In Perfect Nonsense at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

For some unknown reason Jeeves & Wooster has managed to pass me by until my encounter with this rather silly but tremendous fun play. I was aware of the characters of course, the upper class fool Wooster and his highly efficient butler Jeeves, but seen or read about them, absolutely not. On the evidence on display in Perfect Nonsense, it might just be worthwhile having a look.

I say might just, because I personally felt that this play was more entertaining from the premise of a play being thrown together in front of our eyes rather than the tale that it told. Bertie Wooster you see wants to put on a play to tell the story of a rather troublesome encounter with a silver cow creamer he has suffered. He does however not have the brains or ability to create such a thing, so his ever dependable butler is constantly on hand to ensure that things mostly go smoothly. The third and final character of the play is Aunt Dahlia’s butler, Seppings, who like Jeeves but unlike Wooster himself, is destined to have to take on a series of different characters in Bertie's tale.

The joy of the play indeed is in all of these troublesome problems. Be they the wrong hat, the wrong wig or even the need to have a conversation with yourself in a neat two sided costume, the cast are the stars of this show more than the story.

Joseph Chance is a wonderfully clinical Jeeves with perfected asides to the audience when Wooster has become particularly tiresome. He is also particularly comical as his alter egos, far removed from Jeeves, particularly the short sighted Gussie Fink-Nottle. Frequently flapping clumsily trying to get hold of the knobs, on the doors, or having conversations with lampshades.

Matthew Carter presents a perfect buffoon of a Wooster who much of the time is in a bemused state unable to find doors and often astounded by his butler's efficiency. There is a clever neat part, repeated twice, where Wooster himself switches costumes and typically his co-stars, he is slow and clumsy about it. As Carter says this is the boring bit. Interestingly from our side seats on the evening, we were able to see Carter get dressed into his suits just off stage (don't worry pants were always present). The elderly lady in front would have got an even better view, however for her, seemingly not good enough to return for the second half.

The star though comes in the form of co-adapter Robert Goodale as the decrepit butler Seppings, who via his need to play "all of the other characters" becomes much less decrepit. His turns as Aunt Dahlia and the Hitler-esque towering Roderick Spode make the show, with his helpless expressions classic moments. He is also involved in the funniest moment of the play featuring a trains arrival, I shall say no more.

For those that have seen The Play That Goes Wrong or The 39 Steps there will be much familiar in Perfect Nonsense, and to be honest those do many things much better. However this is perfect slapstick entertainment which cannot fail to entertain any theatre or P.G. Wode enthusiast. Not quite perfect, but the most wonderful nonsense and highly recommended.

««««

Performance reviewed: Monday 5th October, 2015 at the Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton.

Jeeves & Wooster - Perfect Nonsense runs at the Royal & Derngate until Saturday 10th October, 2015 before continuing its tour.
http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whatson/2015-2016/Royal/JeevesAndWooster/

For further details visit the Royal & Derngate website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Cilla - The Musical at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

I have to start with a confession dear reader, what I know about Cilla Black can pretty much be written on the back of the Derngate ticket that I clutched on entering the theatre (and that allows for the advert on the back). I have heard a couple of her tunes of course (more than once) and confess, once again, that I generally didn't like what I heard. I think it's clear that with her natural raw form and voice, "a diamond in the rough" as Brian Epstein, her eventual manager describes her, she a performer that you either love or generally, not hate as such, but perhaps just dislike. I fall in the latter. Curiously as I a forty-year-old, I also don't even fall into the Cilla of hit television either, being a BBC viewing family, I never saw her on TV much when I was growing up.

So, coming almost totally fresh to the world of Cilla, it was a little comforting that for the first act, much of the world of Cilla - The Musical revolves not just around star building Cil…

Review of Woman In Mind by Masque Theatre at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

I like Alan Ayckbourn, I may only have seen a few of his vast array of plays previously, but all have been a delight, often crazy yes, but constantly funny, and especially in the second act spiralling often into just on the very edge of believable nonsense. With Woman In Mind, acknowledged by many as one of his finest works, my own personal jury is very much out on whether I liked it or not.
What was very good, mostly, however, were the performances, most especially the two that we are introduced to at the very beginning. The prostrate Susan (Nicola Osborne), with sinisterly lurking rake alongside her, and the bag struggling doctor, Bill (John Myhill).
Nicola Osborne has the unenviable task in this play of never leaving the stage, a feat in itself. Add to this the constant weaving of the character's world (more on this later), and you have a role featuring some significant challenge, one that Osborne ably surmounts. I once described Osborne as a "safe pair of hands" in …

Press launch of Sting's The Last Ship at Errol Flynn Filmhouse, Northampton

On Friday 16th February 2018, I attended the official press launch of The Last Ship. In attendance were the writer of the show, Sting, and cast members for the 2018 UK tour Richard Fleeshman, Charlie Hardwick and Joe McGann, with musical support from Rob Mathes.

During the event, opened entertainingly by producer Karl Sydow, Sting and the cast members performed seven of the songs from the show: The Last Ship (Sting), Dead Man's Boots (Sting and Fleeshman), Sail Away (Hardwick), The Night the Pugilist Learned to Dance (Fleeshman), What Say You Meg? (Fleeshman) and What Have You Got? (Sting and cast).

Each of these songs showed us a great background to the evocative tale that The Last Ship tells, of a community under attack as its crucial shipbuilding industry begins to fail. The performers and Sting himself delivered the songs with huge passion, despite, as Sting himself commented, the earnestness of the hour, with the event beginning at 10 am.

The Last Ship was initially inspired …