This gentle P.G. Wodehouse comedy, co-written with Guy Bolton in the 1950s visits the aristocracy fallen on hard financial times. Set in a crumbling stately home with a great set in this production at The People’s Theatre, we find smart butler, Jeeves on loan to the Earl of Towcester whilst Bertie Wooster is away, and discover Jeeves knows an astonishing amount about horse racing…
The Earl, played here by Ryan Smith, along with Jeeves, admirably portrayed by Steve Robertson, are back from the races with their fledgling turf accountant enterprise in debt to a colonial big game hunter. Their ideas for raising the money to pay him off begin an amusing farce.
Lady Carmoyle, played beautifully by Kirstie Corfield, is waiting for her brother when the play opens, with the news that she has invited a wealthy American clairvoyant to the house with a view to buying it. Her husband, Lord Carmoyle, played convincingly by Steve Hewitt, is a perfect aristocrat also enthralled by the racing.
Towcester’s rather stiff fiancée, Jill Wyvern, played by Annie Elizabeth Cairns, is oblivious to his fondness for gambling and breaks off their engagement when she finds out.
The appearance of Mrs Spottsworth, the American, played here with a flawless accent by Ann Zunder, brings a sense of hysteria to the gathering and her mention of the resident ghost gives Towcester and Jeeves an idea to encourage her to buy the house.
The arrival of Captain Biggar, played by Mark Burden with a huge presence and peculiar accent presents a more direct way to lose the debt, with Towcester and Jeeves plotting to steal his winning ticket.
Much confusion and hilarity follows with ghosts, missing jewellery, reconciliation and romance. Several fleeting appearances of Ellen the maid, played wonderfully by Lauren Allison, are a nice touch and Mark Willett is the policeman, Colonel Blagdon.
A splendid production with many good chuckles, a marvelous set with a great atmosphere, and a solid company. For me, Steve Robertson’s impeccable performance as Jeeves was the highlight of the night. He shone.
It was a delight to visit the People’s Theatre again. It is warm and welcoming social space and intimate auditorium. A good evening out.