Review: Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense

Yes, yes, I know this isn’t a jazz music review – and this is a jazz blog. But .. I also happen to know, from years in their company, that jazz musicians (at least some of the very best on both sides of the Atlantic) seem to have a penchant for PG Wodehouse – so I’m assuming that a similar proportion of jazz fans do too, and may be interested in this hit show which is currently touring the UK. Oh, and Bix Beiderbecke and Reinhardt/Grappelli feature on the soundtrack…

Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, Theatre Royal, Glasgow *****

It’s always a gamble going to see cherished characters being portrayed onstage or screen, but fellow Wodehouse worshippers can rest assured that the Jeeves & Wooster production which opened at the Theatre Royal on Monday, following its West End run, is nothing short of wonderful.

John Gordon Sinclair and Joel Sams (replacing James Lance) star as the eponymous butler and master, in an uproarious caper beautifully and lovingly adapted by the Goodale Brothers from The Code of the Woosters, PG Wodehouse’s 1938 novel. In the play, Bertie Wooster enlists the help of the multi-talented Jeeves and his Aunt Dahlia’s butler, Seppings (Robert Goodale, yup one of the writers), to help him put on his own play based on the rummy tale of what happened when he was summoned to Totleigh Towers to steal an antique silver cow creamer from his uncle’s rival collector. Or something like that .. the plot matters several jots less than the delicious, delightful dialogue and the deliriously funny performances from the trio of actors – two of whom play multiple parts.

John Gordon Sinclair proved himself a fantastic physical comedian, not so much in the Jeeves role, which has to be understated, but more when Jeeves took on the persona of the fish-faced newt-fancier Gussie Fink-Nottle, a quivering, myopic, lovable geek. Sinclair’s body seemed to do Mexican waves when he was in nervous Gussie mode. In all, Sinclair played four characters, while Robert Goodale did an equally marvellous job bouncing between Seppings, Aunt Dahlia, Roderick Spode and Butterfield the butler (who was surely inspired by Eric Blore’s immortal Bates in Top Hat). As for Joel Sams, he made a terrific Bertie. An utter delight; perfect Perfect Nonsense, in fact.

* First published in The Herald, Thursday November 27th

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One response to “Review: Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense

  1. Kingpint

    I was lucky enough to see Perfect Nonsense at the Duke of York in London, with Stephen Mangan and Matthew Macfadyen. I am a devoted Wodehouse fan and my wife, daughter, son and his girlfriend followed along, bent over in gales of laughter. This was so inventive, I hope it runs forever and comes to the states. I’d gladly part with the hard earned to see it again.

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