Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense @ Chichester Festival Theatre

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It’s rare we get the chance to see a production more than once, there’s simply too much to see and not enough time to see it! You can take it as read then that a show has to be pretty good to coax us into seeing it in three different venues!

We fell in love with ‘Jeeves In Wooster in Perfect Nonsense’ when we saw it back at the beginning of last year and still enjoyed it when it toured in the Autumn. Now, with a fresh cast, it’s appearing at a new set of venues and if last night’s audience at Chichester Festival Theatre is anything to go by, it’s going to continue to provide audiences with the best belly laughs they’ll experience for a long time!

Robert Webb makes for a very endearing Bertie Wooster, eschewing the zaniness of others in the role to give him a bumbling air and a constant bemused look. It’s just different enough from Stephen Mangan’s interpretation to make this feel like a fresh take, but similar enough to still fit nicely with the material.

In many ways, despite barely ever leaving the stage, Webb has the easy role… he plays only one part after all. Jason Thorpe on the other hand leaps from one character to another with lightning speed, even jesting that in Chichester’s semi-circular auditorium one scene must look particularly odd for those seated at the sides (he’s clad half in a tweed suit and half in a fetching purple dress)!

The real star here though is Christopher Ryan who doesn’t let age or his diminutive size get in the way of him covering every inch of the stage. His Aunt Dahlia in particular is a joy to watch! Sean Foley’s direction is still immaculately crisp and Alice Power;s set design works as well on this thrust stage as behind a proscenium arch.

Apparently PG Wodehouse’s books are a favourite of people in hospitals and prisons because he never fails to plaster a smile across the readers face. This adaptation has the exact same effect! Catch it while it’s still touring and give yourself some laughter therapy!

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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 theatre, but also enjoys covering sport, especially rugby.

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