Perfect Nonsense Review
What it’s about? Bertie Wooster (Stephen Mangan) tells his audience about his riotous weekend at Totleigh Towers. His aunt blackmails him and sends him to steal a cow-shaped silver jug at the country house of Sir Watkyn Bassett and daughter Madeline. Meanwhile, Madeline has fallen out with her newt-loving fiancé and long-time friend of Bertie, Gussie Fink-Nottle. If Bertie, assisted by his very logical and intelligent valet Jeeves (Matthew Macfadyen), can’t reunite the couple – he’ll be forced to marry the “ghastly girl” himself!
Verdict: Although the plot is thinner than a toothpick, there are plenty of laughs and ingenious staging tricks as well as fantastic performances by Stephen Mangan, Matthew Macfadyen and Mark Hadfield.
Of the three actors, Macfadyen shows off his versatility and extraordinary energy the best, evident in the scene where he plays both stiff upper lip Sir Watkyn Bassett and explicitly feminine Stiffy Byng in a raging argument. Mangan gives a flawless performance as the charming yet foolish Bertie, with his Cheshire cat grin, friendly tone and moments of animated madness. Although Perfect Nonsense is depicted as a two-man play, Hadfield steals several scenes in his roles as the eccentric Aunt Dahlia and dictator Roderick Spode.
The ‘play within a play’ structure leads to a continuous set-up of theatrical customs with cheeky asides referring to the moving backdrop, a bicycle used to propel the revolving stage, lighting costume changes and joke props. Jeeves and Wooster’s car trip to Toteligh Towers is particularly memorable as Hadfield creates outdoor sound effects on stage much to the audience’s amusement. The fun reaches its climax when Wooster shouts, “That’s enough now!”
The Goodale brothers (Robert and David) interpretation of PG Wodehouse’s The Code of the Woosters wonderfully captures the essence of English farce.
Final Words? It may be Perfect Nonsense but the silly production perfectly showcases the spirit of PG Wodehouse’s books. Think Jeeves and Wooster meets Morecambe and Wise live on stage and pure comic genius.
Perfect Nonsense is playing at Duke of York’s Theatre and tickets can be booked at www.JeevesAndWoosterPlay.com
Watch the trailer below!