Monday, 7 April 2014

'Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense' Duke of Yorks Theatre ****

What can I say about to be PG Wodehouse inspired play ‘Jeeves &Wooster in Perfect Nonsense’? It's a powerhouse of a production that leaves you in hysterics from start to finish. The play is reflective to style and tone to how Wodehouse wrote his novels, but instead of it being solely a first-person narrative that only features Bertie Wooster, Robert and David Goodale have decided to make Wooster's butler, Jeeves to act as himself and another, Aunt Dahlia's personal butler performing the minor roles. The dialogue is beautifully captivating and well-constructed; the comedy within the production is rib-tickling and most importantly does not pose any form of falsity. Exceptionally written I might add. The week in which I saw the show was in fact Stephen Mangan, Matthew Macfayden and Mark Hatfield's final week and I found their performances to be vastly breath-taking. That meant that I had trouble breathing because I was laughing a considerable amount throughout the proceedings. For an all-male cast it is definitely work of genius and the connection between the three actors is wonderful. With one of the biggest grins in show business, Stephen Mangan seems to be a great casting decision for Wooster as he provides a spectacular combination of classic comic moments with serious acting panache. The scene where we see a naked Mangan happily playing with the yellow rubber duck in an overbearing bubble bath was a personal highlight.  In addition to Mangan, Matthew Macfayden is excellent as the formidable Jeeves. He conveys the character with a superb commanding presence and forms the traits of an old-fashioned servant, who is extremely strict.  As well as, the portrayal of the other parts were brilliant, in particular when he cross-dressed as Bertie’s horrendous former fiancée Madeline Bassett. Finally, Mark Hatfield is amazing as the slightly minuscule role of Seppings. The power in his vocal delivery is sublime and when he quickly transforms into Roderick Spode, leader of British Blade-Shorts, a seven foot tall man is a moment that repeatedly moves an audience in uproars of laughter. Direction by Sean Foley is nothing more than impressive as he has constructed to play with classic concepts that can work for audiences of all ages. Exceptional job I must express. The set and costume design by Alice Power is flamboyantly well thought of that become ever more inventive and lavish as the show progresses, and this apparently makeshift production creates a delightful sense of conspiracy between the actors and their audience. I found 'Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense' to be a worthwhile experience. Extraordinary to say the least.

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