Charles Essex reviews Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense at the Priory Theatre, Kenilworth
The upper class twit with the astute underling is a popular foundation for farce, as demonstrated by the Blackadder series. Here The Priory has taken it to a new level with just three actors and an ingenious set. Dan Gough was word perfect, with some ad libbing, as he engaged with the audience as Bertie Wooster sailing along leaving chaos in his wake. Meanwhile Ben Wellicome as Jeeves and Brian Goredema-Braid as another valet Seppings played multiple parts with quick changes of costume and voices as they helped Bertie to put on a play giving a dramatic reconstruction of a recent social mishap.
Dan delivered his lines flawlessly, portraying the quizzical naivety of Bertie’s approach to life, oblivious to the efforts of Jeeves and Seppings to dig him out of various holes he had got himself into. With only two actors to help Bertie’s dramatisation there was comical use of off stage conversations when two characters both played by either Jeeves or by Seppings could not be on stage at the same time. Brian’s scene with the tiny toy dog on a stiff cane lead, giving the impression of a terrier straining at the leash was amusing.
But the piece de resistance was Ben’s on stage conversation between a grumpy uncle and his flighty niece by wearing the uncle’s clothes on his right and the niece’s clothes on his left and turning around so the audience saw one or the other as he spoke. It was worth the ticket just to see that. Indeed Ben’s overall performance was outstanding. Although the first half was a little slow, after the interval the pace and humour picked up and the audience rightly gave rapturous applause to all three actors, who will be working very hard over this ten-day run.
Once again The Priory cast and crew has punched well above its weight with another superb performance.
* The show runs until Saturday July 15. Call 01926 863334 to book.