Challenging Text Brings Best Out Of Actor

Wodehouse In Wonderland.

Theatre Severn

February 6th - 8th


Quite often one is faced with paradoxes as reviewer. Great tunes poor lyrics, or great plot badly acted and so on. This show is a paradox in quite a different way. One was presented with an almost perfect Stanislavskian performance from a superbly skilled actor, only to see the slow plotless script bring the whole thing down.

The show is set in Wodehouse’s writing room and P.G. Wodehouse played by Robert Daws, (Poldark, Jeeves and Wooster, Rock and Chips) is attempting to write his next book and he is constantly interrupted by his biographer, his wife, his dogs, and the telephone. All major distractions but within this setting Wodehouse was long-windedly and anecdotally running through his life. The several reference to the actual characters he created were lost on a lot of the audience who didn’t know Wodehouse’s work too well. It is a distinct advantage to help one access this arid stuff.  

With the convention of the fourth wall merely being flirted with one never knew who Wodehouse was actually addressing, were the audience interlopers spying on his life? Or were the audience indeed a part of it and had to be the recipient directly?  One was never sure, and it was hard to keep up with in that regard.

Robert Daws as already stated, gave a faultless performance. A truly professional job. He held the audience for nearly two hours entirely on his own. A herculean task of learning; he knew the play and his lines inside out. He was totally immersed in character and gave a masterclass in just what character acting is all about. His Wodehouse was a truly three-dimensional character, and he found such pathos and shaded the lights and greys beautifully. Well done, Daws.

The play however: Written by William Humble, lacked pace, plot, narrative, and action. It was missing other actors too and it was missing anything that might transfix the viewer, if that viewer didn’t know the actual books. One could watch the life story of Enid Blyton without knowing the books, Wodehouse not so much so. As a result of these omissions, one’s mind wandered and found it especially difficult to stay 100% focussed.

Set design was interesting initially until it became obvious that no set was needed as this was simply a lecture on the the life of Wodehouse, just as lectures aren’t plays, neither should plays lecture. This one did somewhat. Broken up with songs by Kern, Gershwin, Novello, and Cole Porter; it still lacked something.

In summary the paradox must be, superb acting but poor text. Some errors had been made in the creation of this piece of Drama and without the stunning performance of Daws himself one feels this play would be lost and possibly might not stand.

This is a Two and a Half Star Review.

Owen J.Lewis



Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

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