Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense
Written by: David and Robert Goodale
Directed by: Tim Macdonald
Gryphon Theatre, 31st May 2023
Reviewed by: Zac Fitzgibbon
From the moment that Bertie Wooster (Tom Foy) sits in his armchair for the first time, we know there is going to be a lot of laughter to come. Presented by Wellington Repertory Theatre and performed by the talented Foy, Ethan Lawn as Jeeves, and Nick Edwards as the butler Seppings, we are immersed into this zany world of hijinks, newts, and silver cow creamers.
The play is acutely aware of itself. It knows it is a play within a play. The fourth wall is broken with ease, making the audience feel as if we are directly involved in the crazy 48 hours of Wooster’s life that’s being retold.
I was hesitant when the show was introduced as being ‘a play about nothing’. However, I can say that this is one of its greatest strengths. For two hours, I got the opportunity to relax, laugh, and have fun without any deep thought about morally ambiguous philosophies or human existentialism. It is simply light-hearted and every part of it is entertaining. Even the scene changes are hilarious. However, I wonder whether some of the set changes would be better off with accompanying music. Every set piece is utilised well and changes in a whirlwind, much to Wooster’s constant surprise. Director Tim Macdonald’s dynamic set is one of the highlights of the show.
Due to such skilful actors, each character is very distinct. The actors fully commit to their often absurd roles. Even when multi-roling in the same scene, we can easily differentiate between characters, a skill not every actor can pull off. The cast was able to execute this effortlessly, with impeccable comedic timing at every turn.
All this considered, what more could you ask for on a cold Wellington evening than to have a good laugh about complete nonsense? If you haven’t booked tickets yet, by Jeeves, make sure you don’t miss this hysterical show!