Review: Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense @ Lichfield Garrick

I hear on the grapevine that Different Animal’s moving spirit Dan Branch is taking a sabbatical, but on the strength of Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense I say go fast, come back soon.

No one who has seen his productions since 2012 can be in any doubt he is a gleeful director of rare talent – The Elephant Man and 1984 were amongst the best productions anywhere in the Midlands during the early years of the present decade.

For Jeeves and Wooster, a packed Saturday night house was easy pickings as a perfectly chosen cast of three regulars, all extremely accomplished actors portrayed a wide panoply of Woodhouse characters of either gender, making the increasingly hectic and zany plot easy to follow through their sheer joie de vivre in acting.

It’s no good me trying to give any idea of the ensuing mayhem – you had to be there. Let’s just say as you would expect effete toff Bertie Wooster gets into a whole lot of scrapes after lush nights at the Drones Club all triggered here by the desire of another of the stuffy aristos for something called a cow-creamer (a posh milk jug to you). Which leads him as you would expect into a series of embarrassing incidents, in his drawing room, in his bath, under his bed and at various stately homes with a panoply of top-notch twits including forbiddingly demanding prospective brides.

But of course this is really not about those echelons of high society – Bertie would be nothing without his manservant Jeeves. Here the common man comes into his own, because the butlers’ butler’s a genius when it comes to being a fixer and extricates Bertie from an Amazon bulk delivery of scrapes he couldn’t possibly handle alone.

That natural droll John Cleaver stars here as Wooster while our own dear Chris Stanley multitasks for England as the omnipresent Jeeves. But it is David Stonehouse who finally steals the show as Seppings on a ladder (don’t ask) and a shedload, at least from where I was sitting, of black masking tape.

The audience’s helpless laughter and spontaneous applause throughout said it all. Grand.