Jeeves and Wooster Icon

Duke of York's Theatre

St Martins Lane WC2N 4BG

Jeeves And Wooster In Perfect Nonsense

Duke of York Theatre 3D location mapMap ©Silvermaze Ltd 2008 Duke of York Theatre photoPhoto ©Tony Reading 2008

Show Details

Preview 30th Oct 13
Opens 12th Nov 13
Booking to 20th Sept 14

Show Times

Mon - Sat 7.30 pm
Matinée Wed & Sat 2.30 pm
Length of Show - 2hs 20 mins

Local Info

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BAXTER'S THEATRELAND BY NIGHT
A classic viewing of all the Theatreland play houses by night. The authentic commentary, by Ben Shafik - a player himself - gives an authentic feel to the West End's theatres - and is backed by real music.
Next version will be more upbeat as, suggested, to celebrate Britannia's unbeatable heritage.
(Over 6000 viewings and all good reviews to date).
Let us know what you think.


A note from the author

I took these pictures to show off London theatres as they are seen -most often - by theatre goers, at night.

Thanks to Ben Shafik for his lighthearted and informative commentary and Fionn O'Lochlainn for the original music.

Watch out for the new version with current liveries and the names of the theatres as they appear.

Baxter




CAST

  • Matthew Macfadyen - Jeeves
  • Stephen Mangan - Bertie Wooster
  • Mark Hadfiled - Aunt Dahlia

  • Playwright - Robert & David Goodale
  • Director - Sean Foley
  • Producer - Matthew Goucher & Mark Rubinstein

JEEVES AND WOOSTER IN PERFECT NONSENSE

"Certainly it would appear that matters have not arranged themselves quite as we anticipated, sir." Jeeves

Jeeves and Wooster – Pure Nonsense is a new play in the West End. It's Title doesn't do it justice. Although it really is a lighthearted evening of "pure nonsense" there's more to it than that.

I went back to the original in project Gutenberg. Here's the link. The first book I came across was written in 1922 and it was called Right Ho!  Jeeves. The full story with much verbal paraphernalia was expanded by Bertie Wooster in the book. This was all done by PG Wodehouse and what a prolific writer he was. I believe he clocked up 90 novels. I think Enid Blyton and Barbara Cartland started this serial trend taken on by Terry Pratchett and Harry Potter. All conversation and much of it about food. Of course there were plenty of sly references to romance but in those days you didn't wear your heart on your sleeve without eliciting good-natured chaff.

Right Ho!  Jeeves.was reminisced by Bertie about Himself and his family. He came over as an extraordinarily honest and congenial character; And you know how honesty can get you into a lot of trouble. (Well doesn't it always?) Bertie was neither a buffoon nor a sop Although he was rather a 'sandwich in search of a picnic' in the cerebrally Challenged area.

The original Bertie Wooster was undoubtedly a bit of a jingoist. He was a firm believer in the England where people bore no ill will towards each other.

Hence it came as some surprise when ladylike gestures were incisive and believable. This was because the ladies appeared to bear ill will towards their loved ones. Unthinkable mistake! Such an unfortunate occurrence must be corrected by whatever means available to hand. He played his "I'm the boss" card – simply because it was in his bones. All his friends and relations did the same thing; bosses all.

Jeeves was his servant and that has never been forgotten nor ever will. 'Upstairs  Downstairs' taught us much about the grace and dignity of being a good servant. The King is after all a servant to the people. Humour is an essential factor and used liberally throughout the day.

The outrageous antics with the telegrams was nearly slapstick. Aunt Dahlia was the Dame in the comedy Jeeves and Wooster – pure nonsense. Which produces laugh after laugh.

STORY

A highly complex story has been paraphrased in the play very well indeed. There is a touch of "just William" in the way that the pair carry on together – always pushing the best front forward.

Far from being conceited, or sly, Jeeves himself had the ability to confront the situation by placing his words at the exact right moment. He could see things that Bertie simply could not see.

Many of the reviewers agreed that the play had an advantage in being performed on stage. TV screens however large have the ability to minimalise and normalise everything in a Euro blender mash. Cinema is so much more pleasant, present and real. But none compare with the reality of the stage and therein, interaction with the audience. As the play progresses night after night, it moves into maturity with the audience helping that movement. Plays feed the audience and the audience feeds the players.

The quaint, often astonishingly erudite vernacular that comes straight from PG Wodehouse needs attention or you might miss bits along the way. Ice cream? don't even think about it.

As the "Dull thunder of approximate words" sweeps  over our language like a tsunami, spewed out by the press on a daily basis, we are forgiven for forgetting how fine and beautiful English really is.

Any language spoken by people with very little education is not so much spoken as turned into an accent with a perceptible whine to it. English is a language with much dignity inherent in its delivery; and of course its timing.

Jeeves and Wooster DictionaryPerfect Nonsense is photographed and chatted about as a two-man play... Mark Hadfield steals the limelight in a number of scenes - eg in a frock as (Travers) Aunt Dahlia - and other characters. Remember the pedigree of the words rather than the 'typical' pictures of Macfadyen and Mangen competing for attention.  In other words pictures rarely capture subtlety except at rehersals where the dictionary was likely needed more than once.

This is a play that everyone should book and see. In fact book it twice – a week apart– take friends.

©Covent-Garden.co.uk 2017 Updated 16th Feb 2015