Goodale brothers bring their production, Jeeves and Wooster In Perfect Nonsense, to the city.
PG Wodehouse’s classic odd pair—the young gentleman bachelor, Wooster, and his exceptionally smart valet, Jeeves—comes to the stage with their endearing Brit humour in London-based Robert and David Goodale’s production. After directing his brother, Robert, in a one-man show as Bertie Wooster in the early 90s, theatre artiste David says that they revisited the idea of the full-fledged play only five years ago. “We soon realised that we should write a play about Bertie Wooster attempting to perform his own one-man show with the discreet (although, often not so discreet!) assistance by Jeeves. And thus Perfect Nonsense was born.” says David, who has directed the play and co-written the script, adapted from Wodehouse’s The Code of the Woosters (1938), with Robert. Now, after touring the UK and having been staged in Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, Jeeves and Wooster In Perfect Nonsense makes its Chennai debut.
Giving me a bit of history about Wodehouse and his satirical take on the English, David says that there is a perception that his novels are set in the 1930s, whereas the truth is that they were set in an imaginary world that happened to emulate that time period. So I ask, how is it relevant now? “On one level, Wodehouse could be seen as rather dated and belonging to a long-lost era, but he created an almost timeless world that exists in its own right. Added to that, his beautifully constructed plots and blisteringly witty dialogue provide the most glorious escapism,” replies David.
With a three-member cast, one thing that sets this two hour-10 minute adaptation apart is the focus on Wooster’s perspective—who plays both the narrator and the protagonist—and is given much more depth when it comes to characterisation, like in the book. “ It is such a vital ingredient of the novels because it reveals that he is not simply a chump, but an incisive and witty observer as well,” David explains of the play-within-a-play. With a well thought out set and light design, David, without divulging too many details about the play which travels to Bengaluru next, assures us that the set works as a separate character for the show. “Wooster, encouraged by his dim-witted upper class pals, believes that he has the capacity to act out one of his stories at some length on a virtually empty stage. Jeeves, realising that Bertie has little or no idea of stagecraft, has designed and constructed a multi purpose set which cleverly evolves as the story unfolds,” David tells us, adding that they had initially intended to ship the original West End set here but due to complications, their Mumbai-based Indian producer, Avinash Shankar (from Blank Slate), arranged for a replica to be constructed. “When I first caught sight of it I was blown away, because it’s even better than the original!” concludes David.
November 3-6. From Rs 750.At Sir Mutha Hall.