Previewed 30 October 2013, Opened 12 November 2013, Closed 20 September 2014 at the Duke of York's Theatre in London
Bobby and David Goodale's new comedy Perfect Nonsense in London, adapted from PG Wodehouse's characters Jeeves & Wooster.
When a perfectly delightful trip to the countryside takes a turn for the worse, Bertie Wooster is unwittingly called on to play matchmaker - reconciling the affections of his host's drippy daughter Madeline Bassett with his newt-fancying acquaintance Gussie Fink-Nottle. If Bertie, ably assisted by the ever-dependable Jeeves, can't pull off the wedding of the season he'll be forced to abandon his cherished bachelor status and marry the ghastly girl for himself! Perfect Nonsense is a brand new comedy for the stage adapted by brothers Bobby Goodale and David Goodale from the works of P.G. Wodehouse with the blessing of the Wodehouse Estate.
The cast for Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense in London features from 30 June to 20 September 2014 features John Gordon Sinclair as 'Jeeves', James Lance as 'Bertie Wooster' and Robert Goodale 'Seppings'. Please note that casting is subject to change without notice. The original cast up to 5 April 2014 featured Stephen Mangan as 'Bertie Wooster' and Matthew Macfadyen as 'Jeeves' with Mark Hadfield as 'Seppings'. The 'second' cast from 7 April to 28 June 2014 featured Robert Webb as 'Bertie Wooster' and Mark Heap as 'Jeeves' with Mark Hadfield as 'Seppings'. The production is directed by Sean Foley.
When this production opened Dominic Maxwell in the Times described the staging as being a "persistently ingenious Jeeves and Wooster adaptation... there are some smashing bits of business here as we see Bertie turn his story into a play for us." Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph commented that "Sean Foley is a great comic director... and he is once again in winning midseason form here, " adding that "I suspect that Wodehouse himself would have loved this production and there is no doubt that it captures the dotty, sunlit innocence of his work with panache." In the Financial Times Ian Shuttleworth thought that "Sean Foley is probably Britain's greatest director of physical comedy director at present," and "Perfect Nonsense is the funniest Foley work I have seen since The Play What I Wrote," concluding that "all in all, this is a too-rare 22-carat demonstration of silliness as one of the great English virtues." Michael Billington in the Guardian said that "the result is an effortful and occasionally inspired piece... it's an evening that reveals more of Wodehouse's gift for farce than of his matchless verbal felicity." Simon Edge in the Daily Express wrote that "the conceit of this joyous threehander by Robert and David Goodale is that Bertie Wooster is publicly recounting his riotous weekend chasing a cow-shaped silver cream jug at Totleigh Towers... It may be perfect nonsense but that's the point of Wodehouse and the good news is it's bliss... it works beautifully and the mayhem is so true to Wodehouse's madcap spirit that you can imagine him wishing he'd thought of doing it like this." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail highlighted that "this inventive evening of slightly bonkers, genial comedy... may not be clutch-your-sides funny but it will have you smiling consistently, and at moments laughing aloud... Wodehouse is notoriously difficult to dramatise but the Goodale brothers, who wrote this show, have cracked it. Perfect Nonsense shimmers with just the right dose of silliness and self-mockery to suit it to the modern West End." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard noted that "it hits the mark. Although the plot is thinner than an ant's eyebrow, there's plenty of clever and silly business... director Sean Foley is adept at farce, and Alice Power's designs are ingenious... this unapologetically frivolous show should entertain those who have never been exposed to Wodehouse, and devotees will lap it up."
Sean Foley's West End theatre credits include directing the musical I Can't Sing! (London Palladium 2014), What the Butler Saw (Vaudeville Theatre 2012), The Ladykillers (Gielgud Theatre 2011, returned Vaudeville Theatre 2013), Arturo Brachetti (Garrick Theatre 2009) and Pinter's People (Haymarket Theatre 2007). His acting credits include Do You Come Here Often? (Vaudeville Theatre 1998).
"Wodehouse was, without doubt, the funniest writer of all time. Accordingly, it is ironic that it is not his words, but the visual gags the Goodale brothers have dreamt up that are - quite literally - this show's strong suit. I doubt this will go down terribly well with Wodehouse purists, but I challenge any impartial punter not to devour every last drop of this Wooster sauce with relish." The Sunday Telegraph
"In this adaptation by the Goodale Brothers, all the characters apart from Wooster are played by Jeeves and Aunt Dahlia's butler Seppings. The set is built by Jeeves, who urges Wooster to 'refrain from drawing attention to the narrative devices'. The result is undeniably clever and inventive. There are lots of theatrical tricks built around the improvised scenery, rapid costume changes and sound effects provided by Seppings. It's sometimes brilliant, sometimes twee and the second act isn't as satisfying as the first. But there's some great physical comedy here." The London Metro
"Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was the quintessential exemplar of the English comic genius, up there with Henry Fielding and Gilbert and Sullivan; and Perfect Nonsense, cooked up by the writer brothers Robert and David Goodale from the novel The Code of the Woosters, is entirely in the dotty, sunny, escapist Wodehousian spirit. Even better, because it's on stage, while it manages to retain Wodehouse's lavishly preposterous dialogue and Bertie's own narrative, the director, Sean Foley, adds a new dimension of great visual gags and theatrical in-jokes... The jokes have to keep coming thick and fast, and for most of the time, they do. Perfect Nonsense is perfectly attuned to the happy, dotty spirit of the Wodehouse world, and even the most devout aficionados will surely find nothing but innocent pleasure here." The Sunday Times
"Bertie Wooster is evidently thrilled to bits to be taking to the stage at last. Stephen Mangan's gloriously engaging toff beams toothily like a gleeful, idle thoroughbred - then he haw-haw-haws, like the great donkey he really is... Jeeves has - as ever - anticipated his gentleman's every whim and is ready to wheel on absurdly grand scenery, power the revolving stage with his bicycle and slip in and out of wigs and frocks in a trice. And the magnificent Matthew Macfadyen manages all this with Jeevesian unflappability and faultless attention to the teensiest detail. Sean Foley's show, taken from Robert and David Goodale's adaptation of Wodehouse's The Code Of The Woosters couldn't be more sublimely silly or deftly drilled. And Macfadyen is the linchpin... If there's less than a perfect balance between witty Wodehousean verbal frippery and furiously fast farce, it's still an evening of exquisite escapism." The Mail on Sunday
Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense in London at the Duke of York's Theatre previewed from 30 October 2013, opened on 12 November 2013 and closed on 20 September 2014. A planned extension up to 17 January 2015 with a new cast was cancelled.