What ho! It’s Jeeves & Wooster…

What ho! It's Jeeves & Wooster...
Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense at the EM Forster Theatre

Eileen Leahy caught up with Tess Brice from the theatre troupe who are recreating the magic of this mischievous pair…

Can you tell us why you decided to put on local writers the Goodale Brothers’ award-winning version of this classic PG Wodhouse comedy?

If ever there was a time when the world needed the sunlight, optimism and wit of PG Wodehouse, it might be now. Anarchical, brilliantly funny, and a huge theatrical challenge to bring to the stage, we are delighted to be remounting this fantastic comedy. Put simply, the show is pure entertainment in which audiences can get lost for two hours of laughter.

What makes it such a special show to perform?

Our production brings a gently contemporary freshness to David and Bobby Goodales’ brilliant stage adaptation. From live Foley sound effects to an original score of contemporary swing music (and the most ingenious box of tricks you have ever seen), this production should suit Wodehouse novices and experts alike.

Are you touring it around the UK, or taking it to just a few venues?

We are touring the show to more than 40 venues across 17 weeks of playing. We will be visiting a huge range of venues from 80-seat village halls up to 800-seat theatres, as well as two special runs at The Theatre Chipping Norton and The Barn Theatre, Cirencester, as this is a joint production by both theatres.

What do you think the audiences will enjoy most about it as a show?

This production is what it says on the tin – perfect nonsense! I think everyone can appreciate this fresh take on the classic Wodehouse characters, with cracking storytelling, brilliantly witty text and chaotic farce. Resistance is futile!

Can you tell us a little about why The Theatre Chipping Norton and The Barn Theatre in Cirencester decided to join forces to produce Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense?

We are two similarly-sized theatres at either end of The Cotswolds. The creative team here in Chipping Norton wanted to put this wonderful show on, and spoke to The Barn about joining forces so that we could tour the country with it. This is the first time that the two theatres have worked together, and we couldn’t be happier with the end result!

 Were there any challenges along the way?

It’s been a great learning curve for us both. Chipping Norton is a well-established venue, whereas The Barn is only two years old. As a result, our working styles can be quite different! However, we both have our own strengths and have used these together to make this wonderful show possible.

Why do you think PG Wodehouse’s writing, and in particular Jeeves & Wooster, have such staying power?

Wodehouse had such a unique and brilliant turn of phrase. The Code of the Woosters (the book the play is primarily based on) is just as joyful to read today as it was when it was first published. It also helps that the characters are so clearly defined, and the Goodale Brothers’ writing translates this effortlessly to a modern audience.

Ultimately, it comes down to Bertie’s simple penchant for a good time – he has no ulterior motive other than to bring joy to those around him. We can all do with a bit of Bertie once in a while.

Have you visited the EM Forster Theatre before?

This will be our first visit to the EM Forster Theatre, and we couldn’t be more excited! It’ll be a brilliant opportunity to reacquaint the people of Tonbridge with some of this country’s best-loved characters. What-ho!

Tickets for Perfect Nonsense, which is on Monday and Tuesday, March 2 and 3, cost £16 per person and can be purchased online by visiting emftheatre.com

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