The Lowry, Salford
A perfect antidote for the November ‘glums’, Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense offered what amounted to a large helping of theatrical fluff. But what accomplished fluff! This superb three-hander, already a substantial hit in the West End, finished it’s run at the Lowry in great style. I’d love to tell you something about the plot but it’s pretty unfathomable – something to do with a silver plated cream jug, a marriage proposal and some hilarious shenanigans concerning a nine foot tall Hitler lookalike. (I think that about covers it). Needless to say, Wooster blunders throughout proceedings in the time-honoured tradition, Jeeves manages to say so much with the merest raising of an eyebrow and I think it’s fair to say that PG Wodehouse would have approved of this interpretation of his work.
The conceit here is that Bertie (James Lance in triumphantly oafish mode) elects to act out one of his recent japes for the audience’s delectation, aided and abetted by Jeeves (John Gordon Sinclair) who in his usual capable manner has arranged for certain ‘props’ to be available. All the other roles (and they are numerous) are enacted by Seppings (Robert Goodale) an elderly retainer charged with a series of lightning fast costume changes. Special mention must go to set and costume designer, Alice Power, who has created a proscenium set that incorporates a multitude of tricky concealed entrances and exits, which enable the action to scamper along at breakneck pace. Some of the reveals are so surprising that the audience couldn’t conceal their gasps of amazement!
The three players handled the piece with consummate panache and during one extended set piece, where Jeeves had to enact two separate characters simultaneously (one male, one female) my laughter threatened to turn to sheer hysteria. Suffice to say, this was triumphant clowning of the highest order. The hearty ovation from a delighted audience was well and truly earned.