JOYCE MCMILLAN on JEEVES AND WOOSTER at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, for The Scotsman 29.11.14.
3 stars ***
IT’S ALWAYS A JOY to enter the sunlit world of P.G. Wodehouse, where the worst life has to offer is a dressing-down from a dragon aunt in a country-house drawing-room. And in this cheerful touring show – subtitled Perfect Nonsense, and loosely based on the classic 1938 Wodehouse story The Code Of The Woosters – there are some additional pleasures to relish, not only in the accomplished presence of John Gordon Sinclair as Jeeves and a startling range of other characters, but in the pleasing meta-theatrical quality of the Goodale Brothers’ adaptation, in which young Bertie learns a lot about how to tell his story to a theatre audience, thanks to Jeeves’s astonishing skill at hammering together a set, and devising a bicycle-powered revolve for the stage.
The story is a lively piece of thistledown involving Aunt Dahlia’s quest for an 18th century silver cow-creamer, and Bertie’s sustained attempt to keep the passionate Madeline Bassett safely engaged to his newt-loving friend Gussie Fink-Nottle, for fear she should switch her affections to him. And with Robert Goodale himself gracing the cast as Aunt Dahlia and her aged butler Seppings, Joel Sams stepping in magnificently for an indisposed James Lance as Bertie, and John Gordon Sinclair excelling himself as Jeeves, Gussie, the lovely Madeline, and her pert cousin Stephanie, the show emerges as an irresistibly jolly celebration both of Wodehouse himself, and of the power of theatre, celebrated in a glorious final soft-shoe shuffle that has the audience roaring its approval.