Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect NonsenseFrom the moment the curtain goes up, Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense is a joy to watch, packed with hilarious gags, ridiculously tangled plots and blissful silliness from start to finish. Perfect Nonsense sees Wooster (played by the charming and hilarious Stephen Mangan) and Jeeves (the perfectly deadpan Matthew Macfadyen) relate the events of a calamitous weekend at Totleigh Towers, involving a silver cow-shaped jug, newts, a policeman’s helmet and even a rubber duck. Servant Seppings (Mark Hadfield) lends a helping hand by playing numerous parts with gusto as they hurtle through the tale.

With such a stellar comedic cast, it is no surprise that Perfect Nonsense keeps the audience laughing the whole way through. Stand-out moments were often those which parodied the entire nature of the play: the premise being that Wooster had hired out the theatre to tell his story, deciding that acting surely “can’t be that hard”. And indeed, Mangan makes it look easy, with his constant boyish wonder at Jeeves’s impeccable staging ideas creating a brilliant irony which meant the audience was always in on the fun. The hilarity reached a peak when Jeeves set up a bike downstage and proceeded to cycle, prompting the whole stage to rotate for a change of scene, to Wooster’s utter delight.

Moreover, the character acting was sublime, with Macfadyen often stealing the show, such as when simultaneously playing Sir Watkyn Bassett and the young ingénue, Stiffy Byng. These moments of physical comedy gave Perfect Nonsense a relentless effervescent energy, as Jeeves, Wooster and Seppings had to constantly fight fires to make sure this highly complicated and over-populated story was told as accurately as possible.

Certainly a nod must go to Director Sean Foley for bringing together a piece so smooth and seamless, with every possible drop of comedy squeezed out of it. Moreover, the Goodale Brothers, who adapted the original P.G. Wodehouse stories, have created a script which provides the perfect platform for the actors to excel: Macfadyen, Hadfield and Mangan’s sense of enjoyment and fun in performing this deftly written and staged play was palpable in the packed Duke of York Theatre. 

Perfect Nonsense is hugely successful for offering audiences a night of pure, unbridled entertainment at the theatre, with no airs or pretentions about it. It’s hard to imagine anyone failing to enjoy the play when it takes such a carefree plunge into silliness and frivolity, simply asking that the audience come along for the ride. Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense is the ideal way to spend an evening, with all the ingredients of the perfect show; I want to see it again and again and again, and I highly recommend it.

Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense is playing the Duke of York Theatre until 8 March 2014. For more information and tickets, see the Duke of York Theatre website.