Jeeves and Wooster review - November 2013

Macfadyen, Mangan and Hadfield are a triumphant comedy trio in this unbeatable whimsical farce.

This show is whimsical farce if ever I were to indulge in one! There really isn’t anything not to like  about the Goodale Brothers’ Jeeves and Wooster in The Perfect Nonsense, unless of course you are devoid of all humour and joy.

Based on P.G Wodehouse’s well known tales of good old Jeeves and his master, the eccentric Bertie Wooster, the show treads familiar comic ground. However what I didn’t expect was this particular staging to be so well executed. Three actors, Matthew MacFadyen as Jeeves, Stephen Mangan as Wooster and Mark Hadfield as Seppings, tell the tale of Wooster’s recent ill fated romp in the countryside, with the exuberant Mr Wooster himself acting as chief storyteller. The genius of the show is that, whilst continuing to embody their initial characters, both “Jeeves” and “Seppings” also re-enact a range of other characters in the story to hilarious effect. Particular highlights include Hadfield’s Seppings playing his boss, Aunt Dahlia and MacFadyen’s Jeeves embodying the objectionable and somewhat lusty Madeline Bassett. Together the actors make up a triumphant trio, and their sense of play is infectious.

Similarly fantastic are the surprise staging elements, seemingly put together by Jeeves to entertain his master’s re-enactment. The set and its various transformations really are impressive and will not cease to shock and entertain the audience. Better yet is Mangan’s reactions as Wooster to the changing surroundings, who plays the role as an infectiously delighted child amid a dressing up box.

The gags aren’t always the most intelligent, but the show certainly is a laugh a minute piece. Whilst this can get tiring after a while, the tale wraps up neatly before the audience can get too sick of the samey pace, leaving them pleasantly amused and entertained.

In the past Jeeves and Wooster have always been considered to be a rather iconic double act, however I would say this is a performance of three thirds. Without either MacFaydyen, Mangan or Hadfield this production would be lacking a certain meaty chunk to its theatrical pie. Luckily all are present and correct, and the three way comedy split is simply harmonious.

7 November 2013, Duke of York's Theatre