P.G. Wodehouse’s JEEVES AND WOOSTER in Perfect Nonsense

St James Theatre 2, Wellington

08/09/2016 - 10/09/2016

Production Details


St James Theatre, Wellington from 8 – 11 September 

Following a sell-out year on London’s West End, three successful UK tours and a season in Mumbai, the charmingly incompetent English gentleman Bertie Wooster and his unflappable valet Jeeves are packing their bags for a trip to Wellington.  The iconic double act will be appearing in Perfect Nonsense for a strictly limited season at the St James Theatre from Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 September. 

Winner of Best New Comedy at London’s 2014 Olivier Awards, the highly acclaimed comedy Perfect Nonsense layers joy on joy and joke on joke in a hilarious evening of theatrical absurdity. 

Bertie Wooster, the dim-witted, calamity-prone English toff, and his suave, shrewd manservant and solver of all problems – Jeeves, were the most famous creations of renowned English author P. G. Wodehouse.  They first appeared in 1915, and thereafter in a total of 35 short stories and 11 novels recounting their hilarious escapades, making their final appearance in 1974 in Wodehouse’s last completed novel ‘Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen’Perfect Nonsense is based on and adapted from Wodehouse’s literary works, and is written by brothers Robert and David Goodale. 

When a country house weekend takes a turn for the worse, Bertie Wooster is unwittingly called on to play matchmaker and also to steal a silver cow-shaped cream jug from Totleigh Towers.  Naturally, the ever-dependable Jeeves is there to save the day and prevent Bertie from making a fool of himself. 

The supremely talented cast of three – Joseph Chance as Jeeves, Matthew Carter as Wooster and actor/writer Robert Goodale as Seppings the butler – recounts the weekend’s escapades in an evening of raucous comedy, playing a colourful array of Wodehouse’s well-loved characters including Gussie Fink-Nottle, Madeline Bassett, Sir Watkin Bassett, Aunt Dahlia, Roderick Spode and Constable Oates. 

Producer James Cundall, CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, said “Jeeves and Wooster are some of the funniest characters in English literature, and are brilliantly brought to life on stage in this hilarious play – which earned outstanding reviews across the London media.  It is all delightfully dotty, and a perfect dose of silliness and frivolity to transport you to another world.”

Though born in England, P.G. Wodehouse spent the first two years of his life in Hong Kong, where his parents lived, his father a magistrate.  He later worked for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank in London for two years before becoming a full-time writer.

From 1902 until his death in 1975 aged 93, Wodehouse was a prolific writer of short stories, novels, scripts for both plays and Hollywood films, as well as lyrics for musical comedies – at one time he had five musicals running simultaneously on Broadway.

Jeeves and Wooster have become world-famous fictional characters, appearing in film, television and stage adaptations, most notably the British TV series ‘JEEVES AND WOOSTER’ starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie respectively.  Both the name and character of Jeeves have over the years become known as the quintessential name for a valet or butler, and for all things associated with the role of a gentleman’s gentleman.

Perfect Nonsense stars three acclaimed actors from London’s West End.  Joseph Chance has performed in numerous Shakespeare productions, including seasons with the world-famous Royal Shakespeare Company.  Matthew Carter has also performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, has appeared in the West End’s longest-running play The Mousetrap, and his film and television credits include Wallander and The Bill.  As well as co-writing Perfect Nonsense, Robert Goodale is an experienced Shakespearean actor with numerous Royal Shakespeare Company roles to his credit, as well as film and TV appearances, including Midsomer Murders, The Bill, Heartbeat, Foyle’s War and Holby City.

With clever and inventive staging, Perfect Nonsense is laugh-out-loud funny, capturing the eccentricity and innocence of a bygone English era. 

“Devour every last drop of this Wooster sauce with relish”Tim Walker, Sunday Telegraph, UK 

“Just go…   Besiege the box office!”Libby Purves, Radio 4 and theatrecat.com, UK 

**** London Evening Standard 

“P.G. Wodehouse would have loved this production” Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph, UK

“An inventive evening of bonkers comedy” Quentin Letts, Daily Mail, UK

“Hilarious!” Daily Express, UK

JEEVES AND WOOSTER in Perfect Nonsense 
Venue:  St James Theatre, Wellington
Performance Dates:  Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 September
Ticket Prices:  From $69.90 
Book here  

Theatre , Comedy ,

Immaculately staged Wodehouse

Review by Bob Mason 09th Sep 2016

The accolade “genius” is bandied around far too freely among authors and artistes alike, but it is a deserved epithet for PG Wodehouse, that English colossus of erudite wit. Even as talented a contemporary as Evelyn Waugh regarded Wodehouse as a “master” whose writing was “uniquely brilliant”.

It is easy, then, to see how the popularity of his most famous creations – the charming upper-class twit Bertie Wooster, and his brilliant and indefatigable valet Jeeves – has endured. And it is surprising that it has taken so long for someone to dramatise some of Wodehouse’s prodigious output, given the success of numerous TV and radio adaptations.

Perfect Nonsense is superbly titled. The plot is preposterous. What makes the play stand out is the immaculate staging and clever structure of a play within a play, involving just three actors. [More


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More delighted by set and costumes than performances and story

Review by Moana Ete 09th Sep 2016

I wonder how many people here are like me: doe-eyed at the bold font reading “DIRECT FROM THE WEST END” and further along the poster… “BEST COMEDY” bordered by the laurel wreath. For someone who has never been to the West End, I jump at the chance to see a Lunchbox Theatrical Production whenever they’re in town. Last year the very same bold lettering lured me to the Musical Singin’ in the Rain and though I don’t expect half of the glitz tonight, I anticipate this show could warm the heart of any Wellingtonian brave enough to weather the day’s hail and high winds that hammer on well into the night. 

The play is, as the title suggests, perfectly nonsensical and convoluted. This is intentional, of course, as it’s the duty of Bertie Wooster (Matthew Carter) to narrate this particular series of farfetched events. Carter’s Wooster is over-zealous and completely oblivious. In his opening monologue and first exchanges with the omnipresent Jeeves (Joseph Chance) we hear writers David and Robert Goodale re-meld PG Wodehouses’ 1930s comedy gold for modern audiences.

The play-within-a-play anchors Wooster in the role of Storyteller. In order to get the show on the road, Butler Seppings (Robert Goodale) must play the insatiable Aunt Dahlia with an eye on the coveted Silver Cow Creamer, and Roderick Spode whose dictatorship over Totleigh Towers is further pronounced with a Hitler moustache. This leaves Jeeves to quadruple-up as every other character, including an acutely short-sighted Gussie Fink-Nottle and the slinky scheming Stephanie ‘Stiffy’ Byne. Chance and Goodale are sure-fire supporting cast and together the three performers populate the stage with a community of desperate sorts.

Wooster cannot help but ‘break character’ to marvel at the swift scene changes and clever prop apparitions orchestrated by Jeeves and Seppings. And while partaking in Wooster’s astonishment at the theatrics of it all is amusing at first, this constant outside commentary prevents us from truly suspending disbelief and ‘buying in’ to the world of the play. It keeps everything floating on the surface, failing to let us sink in, failing to induce the belly laughs from tonight’s rather reserved audience.

There were many big jokes that I feel go right over our heads. One example is when Wooster is warned never to mention the following name to Spode for fear of the unimaginable happening. The-name-that-must-not-be-said being “Eugh Lau-reah” which is repeated and repeated, only to be met with a sea of perplexed faces. I think later that perhaps it was a Hugh Laurie reference that fell flat with tremendous force. Yikes. [Laurie played Bertie Wooster to Stephen Fry’s Jeeves in the 1990s ITV series.]

What does ignite the most excitement amongst us, it seems, is the costume and set design. From the make-shift antique shop, to the quaint drawing room, to the handsome Totleigh Towers, to a bubble bath in the decadent Totleigh Estate bathroom… at every turn we are faced with a plethora of visual gags and simple theatrical conventions that are as tried as they are true.

I don’t know if our disproportionate delight in the trickery and efficacy of set and costume over the performances and story is more telling of the production as a whole or of us as the audience. 


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