P.G. Wodehouse’s beloved comic characters are back on the Chemainus Theatre Festival stage for the third time in Jeeves Takes a Bow, Sept. 8 through 30.
The British comedy, adapted by playwright Margaret Raether, includes so many bizarre calamities you’ll wonder until the last moment just how our faithful hero-butler will save the day.
In this installment, the charming and feckless Bertie Wooster (played by Kirk Smith) is paying a visit to the Big Apple. He’s crossed the pond with his considerable fortune, talent for trouble, and his long-suffering and all-knowing manservant: Jeeves, reprized for a third time by Bernard Cuffling.
In Manhattan, they discover Bertie’s rather dim old school chum, Binky, played by Colin A Doyle, has abandoned his diplomatic career in order to take a bit part in a racy show starring the luscious, ditzy, Ruby, played by Robyn Wallis, but appearances must be maintained back home.
In less than a New York minute, Bertie is entangled with a lovelorn pal, swapped identities, a dangerous bootlegger named Knuckles played by Declan O’Reilly, a surprise fiancée named Vivienne played by Kate Dion-Richard and a Broadway musical called ‘Naughty Natalie!’ Once again, it’s up to level-headed Jeeves to save the day – and steal the show.
Jeeves is a jumble of creative mishaps and the actors do an exceptional job of balancing reality with absurdity so we can relate to the loving and quirky bonds between the characters – and feel relieved it’s not us cleaning up the mess.
Wodehouse’s collected Jeeves series includes 35 short stories and 10 full-length novels, first published during periods of economic depression, war and political and social upheaval.
It continues to resonate with every generation for its likeability. Few could turn down the camaraderie, mischief, modish slang, shrewd insinuations, gratuitous abbreviations, bewildering metaphors and delightfully lavish narratives.
The talented production team bringing Manhattan to the Festival stage includes: Amanda Larder (set design); C.S. Fergusson-Vaux (costume design); Nicole Lamb (lighting design); Lisa Russell (stage management) and Rebecca Marchand (apprentice stage management).
Show enhancements are available, and include: free ‘talk-backs’ with the cast and crew following Wednesday performances, a special show-themed dinner in the Playbill Dining Room and accommodation package at the Best Western Plus Chemainus Inn.
Tickets can be booked by calling 1-800-565-7738, or online at chemainustheatre.ca.