Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense @ The Mayflower, Southampton

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It’s always difficult when you love a play to see it performed again with a different cast. Will it have the same impact? Will it stand up to repeated viewing? Will you be able to accept different performers in the roles? All these questions were dancing through my head at the Mayflower theatre last night.

When I first saw Jeeves & Wooster In Perfect Nonsense back in January (read that review here) I was immediately taken by how deftly the Goodale Brothers had married their three man concept to PG Wodehouse’s brilliantly witty plot. The action was fast-paced, funny and at times even touching.

The good news is that this feeling has largely been maintained in the version currently out on tour.  James Lance makes for an endearing Bertie, though his propensity to gabble means a few of his best lines are missed. He makes up for this with some hilarious physical comedy moments.

Co-writer Robert Goodale steps into the unsung role of Seppings with aplomb, revelling in the anarchy and enjoying the opportunity to send up the usual theatrical conventions.

The stand-out performance here though is John Gordon Sinclair. His Jeeves is wonderfully upright, but he revels in jumping between characters and the scene where he plays both Sir Watkyn Bassett and Stiffy Byng on both sides of an argument is pitched perfectly!

As with it’s stay in the West End a lot of the laughs in this play are gleaned from the absurdity of the situation and all three performers milk the opportunities perfectly, barely keeping straight faces at the silliness of the action. There are a couple of points where the pace noticeably slows (it seems Mr Lance needs to practice his quick changes), but otherwise this stands up well against the debut cast.

I’ve long said that no matter how bad your day, a little Wodehouse is the perfect pick-me-up and this tour will get rid of those winter blues and leave you beaming!

Matt

Matt has been writing on all manner of subjects for over 15 years. He has written for a number of music magazines, made appearances on BBC Introducing and regularly contributed to local newspapers. These days he mostly writes about rugby and is passionate about providing insight into women's rugby! He also writes on theatre and regularly reviews shows across the south.

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