Review: Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense @ NT
New Theatre, Cardiff
Tuesday 9th June 2015
*Please note the trailer is taken from the original London cast of the show*
It's another centenary celebration in the arts. P. G. Wodehouse created his famous duo, Jeeves & Wooster 100 years ago, writing of them in numerous novels and short stories. But they had never been seen on stage in London, till now.
Looking like an odd mix of Boy George and Hugh Bonneville (who must play him someday) Wodehouse, or Plum as he liked to be known, led a glamorous life and this is reciprocated in to these well known escapades.
Perfect Nonsense is adapted by the Goodale Brothers and is based on old Plum's novel The Code of the Woosters. It goes without saying that its contents are of utter silliness and dry humour. Involving newts, a sliver cream jug in the shape of a cow and a lot of faffing about, most of the humour comes from the three male actors who make the piece a great work of physical humour. The set also adds to the wit, dealing more and more in its practical ways.
Sadly unwell, Jason Thorpe was replaced by Matthew Carter as Jeeves. As understudies go, this was a decent attempt as the immortal butler or "gentleman's gentleman". In the deadpan delivery, the all-knowing, assured and life-saving Jeeves is fleshed out by Carter in the most splendid of ways. Perhaps a little young to be playing Wooster, Ed Hancock was charming and brimming with comedic energy. Christopher Ryan constantly stealing the show as Seppings and other characters (the drag parts were remarkable) made for funny times. His mistakes and clumsiness added an extra dimension to the show, which we couldn't have been without.
It's easy to marvel at a work like this, a sort of museum piece from years gone by. Some jokes can't work (simply due to their age), others are near laugh out loud. Most of all the comedic timing holds up as sheer brilliance. One is reminded a lot of the theatre version of The 39 Steps; three male actors, various roles, frantic sets, ridiculous story...the similarities are bountifully.
Worth the visit, old chaps.
Rating: 3 stars