BY JEEVES: Ayckbourn/Webber. New Vic, Newc’le u Lyme

Newcastle-under-Lyme
BY JEEVES: Alan Ayckbourn & Andrew Lloyd Webber
New Vic: BO 01782 717962
Runs: 2 ¾ hours, One interval, till 11th August 2001
Review: Rod Dungate, 27th July 2001

A suitably over-the-top production

A highly energetic, highly stylised and highly camp piece of nonsense and none the worse
for that. Alan Aykbourn and Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s frolic of a musical based on the works
of P G Woodhouse is given a suitably over-the-top production by Gwenda Hughes in this UK
regional premiere.

Bertie Wooster is to give a banjo performance at a charity do when disaster strikes – his
banjo mysteriously disappears. Jeeves saves the day by starting to tell an improbable story of
three pairs of star-crossed lovers, among whom all the men seem to be at least one of the
others and Bertie all of them all of the time. Jeeves, having started the tale, is the only one
who can bring it to its happy conclusion.

Since we are all in on the joke from the start, a feast of theatrical jokes are possible –
narrative jokes, props jokes, music and sound effect ones, and even tripping up jokes. Judging
by the number, the company must have had great fun in rehearsal, and the fun is infectious.
It’s all done with great panache, so it works well.

Lloyd Webber’s music is mostly uninspiring but the cast sing well. ‘How d’you do?’ and
‘By George, By Jove, By Jeeves’ are by far the best.

Chris Garner (Bertie Wooster) keeps everything rollicking along with his high octane
performance and light singing voice. Daniel Wexler is an endearing, accident-prone Harold
Pinker and Colin Wakefield brings the full measure of Jeeves’s elegance and calm to this
summer party.

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Musical Director: Richard Atkinson
Designer: Lis Evans
Lighting: Jo Dawson
Sound: James Earls-Davis

Cast:
Gussie Fink-Nottle: Kieran Buckeridge
Bertie Wooster: Chris Garner
Cyrus Budge: Howard Gay
Madeline Bassett: Lana Green
Sir Watkin Bassett: Nick Lumley
Honoria Glossop: Heather Phoenix
Bingo Little: Christopher Pizzey
Stiffy Byng: Thomasin Trezise
Jeeves: Colin Wakefield
Harold ‘Stinker’ Pinker: Daniel Wexler

2001-07-29 11:44:00

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