Jeeves and Wooster

Theatre Severn

4th / 7th February (Saturday Matinee.)

Jeeves and Wooster

Perfect Nonsense

If you only see one show this year allow me to strongly recommend you consider Theatre Severn’s offering this week of P.G. Woodhouse’s, Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense.

Starring Robert Webb (Peep Show,)  Christopher Ryan (The Young Ones) and Jason Thorpe (Doctors), this show, living up to its title, is two hours of perfect nonsense.  But what wonderful perfect nonsense it is.

Set, initially on a relatively undressed stage, Wooster (Robert Webb) decides to tell a story about his friends, his involvement in the theft of a policeman’s helmet and his giggly flapper friends. As he talks, his ever faithful man servant Jeeves goes about building the set around him and the whole wonderful story floods out.

From the off the audience warmed to the innocuous bumbler and his tale, and they revelled in the amazing costume changes and scenery construction that carried this two hours of utter tosh, beautifully careening to its ultimate and hilarious conclusion. One uses the word tosh in the spirit of the thing, as it probably would be how Wooster would describe the whole story himself.

A packed house hooted and cheered at every clever line, the brilliant comic timing and the stunning scene changes.

Webb was superb, it must have taken him at least thirty seconds to win the audience  and then he and his co-stars held them in the palm of their hands for the entire duration.

Sometimes what you don’t see happening in theatre is what makes the show. The technical language was stunning. The lighting plan alone must have offered the designers several sleepless nights as they planned how best to compliment such talent. As for the rotating stage, it alone makes the whole show worthwhile.

Christopher Ryan has put a serious drain on my stable of superlatives. He was agile, brilliantly funny and his energy levels, which never dropped, could have fired the National Grid! I needn’t elaborate only to add that he played about five parts all of them different.

There are all sorts of arguments that one can involve oneself in about the morality of class and class distinction;  but this harmless show has a different agenda completely.  It’s not about class and it has no social comment to make. Rather it accepts that the ruling classes have an unshakeable right to be so and consequently pokes a little bit of delicate fun at their expense.

Things have moved on a little since then, thank goodness, but the laughter is generated  by Wooster’s lack of realistic life  knowledge and the struggle of Jeeves, the long suffering man servant’s attempts at maintaining that status quo.

This show is a tour de force, it is one that this reviewer has no difficulty in loudly proclaiming its worth.  Why not leave the kids with Nanny, tell the Butler to guard the mansion and get on down to Theatre Severn. Don’t miss it .

Paradoxical that such perfect nonsense can be such perfect fun.

This is a five star review.

Owen Lewis.

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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