From seeing the beautifully crafted, puzzle-box-like set as we entered the auditorium, it was clear that the audience was in for a treat. We collectively embarked on a journey filled with uproarious laughter, cringe-worthy moments, and thunderous applause. The atmosphere in the theatre was electric, and we were all in on the joke.
The premise is simple yet ingeniously meta: Bertie Wooster, portrayed with delightful goofiness by Luke Barton, decides to recount the tall tale of his recent escapes at Totleigh Towers on stage. The catch? He only has two ‘actors’ to help him: Jeeves and Seppings, two hilariously dry and unflappable butlers. What unfolds is a farcical parody of theatrical conventions, complete with joke props, an ingenious set design, and lightning-fast costume changes that left the audience in stitches.
The set, designed by Olivia du Monceau and built by the skilled in-house team at Salisbury Playhouse, was a marvel of ingenuity and versatility. It seamlessly transformed from one scene to another, brimming with endless gags and surprises. It was a character in itself, enhancing the humour and adding an extra layer of charm and delight to the performance. The set's slickness and the quick transitions were a testament to the evident expertise of the backstage crew, who worked their magic behind the scenes. Without their precision and seamless coordination, such on-stage slickness could not have been achieved.
Cope and Barton (L-R) - 📸 Marc brenner
At the heart and soul of the production lay the exceptional performances of this just three-person cast. Barton brought Bertie Wooster to life with an endearing blend of charm and silliness, leaving us grinning from ear to ear. Alistair Cope and Patrick Warner (Seppings and Jeeves respectively) really shone in their multitude of character portrayals throughout the show – each garnering rounds and rounds of appreciative applause throughout. Their aptitude for impressions, nuances of character, and physical humour were nothing short of extraordinary.
The comedic timing displayed on stage by all was a sight to behold. The delivery was impeccable, keeping the audience in stitches from start to finish. What's more, the actors seamlessly incorporated off-the-cuff, improvised gags that were unique to our particular audience and performance - a testament to Barton, Cope and Warner’s quick wit and comedic prowess.
In conclusion, Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense at Salisbury Playhouse is a triumph. It's a theatrical gem that offers an evening of unabashed laughter and entertainment not to be missed.
It is a true testament to the talent on and off the stage, and it's a reminder of the magic that live theatre can bring. Don't let this delightful show pass you by; it's an experience you'll treasure.
Warner, Cope and Barton (L-R) - 📸 Marc brenner
Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense is running at Salisbury Playhouse until September 23.
Relaxed, BSL and Captioned Performance, September 19 at 7:30pm, and Audio Described and Touch Tours on September 21 at 2:15pm and 7:30pm.
Tickets from just £13, head to wiltshirecreative.co.uk/events/jeeves-wooster-in-perfect-nonsense