REVIEW By HILARY DAWES
Adapted for the stage by brothers Robert and David Goodale and brilliantly directed by Marieke Audsley, this is a hilarious rendering of P.G. Wodehouse's much loved classic novel, The Code of the Woosters. An incredibly talented cast of just three actors bring Bertie, Jeeves and their friends (and foes!) to life, as the wonderful creative team immerse us in the fabulous world of Berkeley Mansions and Totleigh Towers.
Following a riotous weekend at country house Totleigh Towers, Bertie Wooster has a tale to tell. Forced to play matchmaker between his newt-fancying friend Gussie Fink-Nottle and the girl of his dreams, Madeline Bassett, Bertie must also secure an antique silver cow creamer for his Uncle Tom, husband of the formidable Aunt Dahlia. This is in the possession of rival collector Sir Watkyn Bassett and Bertie is tasked with stealing the valuable item. Further complications ensue, regarding a lost notebook, the impending wrath of Roderick Spode and the danger that Bertie may become marriage material himself!
Bertie wants to give us his own version of events in the form of a play, the problem being that only Jeeves and Aunt Dahlia’s valet Seppings are available to play all the characters. Thus follows a multitude of memorable moments with delicious Wodehousian dialogue, farce and eye wateringly fast costume and character changes, as Jeeves and Seppings portray, in astonishingly quick succession (and sometimes at the same time!): Aunt Dahlia, the terrifyingly tall Roderick Spode, Sir Watkyn Bassett, Stiffy Bing, Gussie Fink-Nottle and his dippy fiancé Madeline, Sir Watkyn’s valet Butterfield and Constable Oats!
Luke Barton perfectly captures the character of Bertie as the loveable upper class idiot, totally endearing in his attempts to please everyone and save the day. We can only wonder at the amazing energy and skill of Patrick Warner (Jeeves) and Alistair Cope (Seppings), as their various characters seem to magically disappear and re-emerge at a moment’s notice!
High praise must go to designer Olivia du Monceau for a stunning set, transporting us from Bertie’s art deco flat to different believeable locations via various doors and panels. The ingenious use of props was a joy to behold, particularly the assembly of Bertie’s car and the scene at the level crossing. On that I will say no more – you must see it for yourselves!
Whether new to P G Wodehouse’s characters, or dedicated fans, audiences can look forward to a fantastically farcical and fun evening out.
Running until 21st October 2023