If you’re in for a spot of good fun, you’ll want to take in Margaret Raether’s adaptation of P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves Intervenes, playing at the Chemainus Theatre until Oct. 3.
Bernard Cuffling, as the ever so dry and unflappable Jeeves, is the unperturbable centre of gravity around which this comedy – which runs the gambit from witty to slapstick – turns.
He is the mastermind, who steers Bertie Wooster (Warren Bain) and Eustace Bassington-Bassington (Seth Little) out of their lifestyle threatening scrapes.
Set in high-society London during the roaring 20’s, some of the humour is dated. But you can’t help laughing at the pickles Bertie and Eustace get themselves into, the one trying to evade the pinchers of matrimonial and patrimonial responsibility; the other trying to lead the high-life on a dime (or sixpence if you please) and shift the affections of Gertrude Winklesworth-Pipps (Olivia Hutt) from his old school chum to himself.
Jeeves Intervenes is the kind of play that requires skill to carry off. It depends to some degree on the audience – particularly a 21st Century audience – being able to suspend disbelief and empathize with the actors.
Cuffling, Bain, Little, Hutt and the rest of the cast – Brian Linds as Sir Rupert, and Barbara Pollard as Aunt Agatha – strike a humorous balance between exaggerating the mannerisms of high-society London, while building an instantaneous affection between the audience and their characters.
“There’s something endearing about the innocence of Bertie Wooster and something comforting about the constant, calm and efficient presence of his butler Jeeves,” Director Ian Farthing writes in his program note.
“Watching them, it helps us feel that no matter what goes wrong in the world, it can always be fixed – with a few chuckles along the way.”
At least for a couple of hours, sitting in a comfy theatre seat in Chemainus.