|source, via The Chap|
What ho! Jeeves and Wooster head for West End
Hot on the heels of news that Sebastian Faulks is to write the first "new" Jeeves novel since the death of the incomparable P. G. Wodehouse in 1975 comes the even more welcome announcement of a new play based on one of Wodehouse's best books, The Code of the Woosters and which is to star British TV comedy/drama stalwarts Stephen Mangan and Matthew Macfayden. Beginning on 10th October, Perfect Nonsense will have a week-long run at the Richmond Theatre, then Theatre Royal Brighton before transferring to the West End at London's Duke of York Theatre.
Fully endorsed by the Wodehouse estate and, by the sounds of things, staying very true to the books this has all the potential of being an absolutely topping production from an experienced pair of writers and theatrical comedy director. Add in two high-quality actors and a live theatre setting and it could just be the best adaptation since the 1990s Granada TV series starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.
Indeed - and at the risk of making everyone feel old - as Stephen Mangan points out in the article it has now been 20 years since the Jeeves & Wooster series (!) and perhaps now the time is right for a new acting duo to don the mantles of Bertram Wilberforce Wooster and his gentleman's gentleman, Jeeves. Could Mangan & Macfayden be the fellows to do it?
I will certainly be keeping an interested eye out for reviews come October, maybe even with a view to popping up to the West End to see it for myself. I can honestly say I have no expectations - Fry and Laurie's portrayals are practically generation-defining and may never be surpassed (truly, as many have said, they were born to play those roles) so in a way it relieves this production of any pressure to measure up, for my point of view at least. In addition and despite my positive descriptions of the two stars of this new play, the popular works of Mangan and Macfayden have largely passed me by. In the case of the former I've never seen Green Wing, Adrian Mole: the Cappuccino Years or Dirk Gently (arguably his most well-known roles in the U.K.) and only really know him from guest appearances on panel shows such as Have I Got News For You and Would I Lie To You?, where I admit he did impress. I also had no interest in Macfayden's turn in Spooks and just plain missed Little Dorrit and Ripper Street (the latter somewhat to my annoyance, admittedly), so I have few preconceptions regarding them as Bertie and Jeeves. I'd like to think they'll do a good job - they certainly look the part in the press photos I've seen.
All that remains is for me to say "break a leg chaps" and "tinkerty tonk!" in anticipation of a jolly good show!