Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Come On Jeeves, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, 15th July 2008

Cast (In order of appearance):

Myfanwy_WaringLady Monica Carmoyle: Judy Buxton
Lord Rory Carmoyle: Derren Nesbitt
Jill Wyvern: Myfanwy Waring
The Earl Of Towcaster (Bill): James Cawood
Ellen : Pamela Flanagan
Jeeves: Richard Pocock
Mrs Spottsworth: Anita Harris
Captain Biggar: Victor Spinetti
Colonel Blagden:Nicholas Pound
Big Race Announcer: Mark Lascelles

P.G. Wodehouse's, calm-as-a-cucumber, butler Jeeves and his pleasant but rather stupid master Bertie Wooster first appeared in their first short story in 1915.

Despite the success of the printed stories there hgave been relatively few adaptations of the characters to stage and screen and it wasn't until 1934 that Wodehouse transferred Come On Jeeves to the stage (it was co-written with Guy Bolton).

Despite the fact that 74 years have passed since that first performance the comedy has stood the test of time well.

I don't believe in posting spoilers to the storyline because I am sure many, many people have never seen this play and why ruin the story?

I wouldn't describe it as the most brilliant comedy I have seen in my life. But I would still recommend the show to anyone, especially if you are lucky enough to have a cast as good as we did here.

Anita HarrisAnita Harris is a star who needs little introduction with a career that spans TV shows, theatre plays, movies, musicals - a list which goes on and on. Her list of awards and trophies, including winning TV Times readers poll as Most Popular Female Television Entertainer, is equally as lengthy.

In this comedy play the role of the eccentric Mrs Spottsworth suits Anita well. However, Mrs Spottsworth's actual appearances, on stage, are somewhat limited compared to the main characters of Jeeves and The Earl Of Towcaster and I did feel that, regardless that what she did was faultless, you didn't really get to see the best of Anita Harris talent including of course her superb singing ability. None of this is Anita's fault,of course. Most plays these days have a "big name celebrity" headliner and in this case it was Anita. Being the headliner more often than not does not mean leading role.

In this case the leading roles are The Earl Of Towcaster and Jeeves of course.

Richard Pocock, who has a long history in the theatre and TV credits including Casualy and Search for the BBC, was cast superbly as the always unflappable Jeeves.

The star of the show though, for me at least, had to be James Cawood as The Earl. In terms of his career in the theatre James probably has, at this time, the shortest list of credits to his name compared to the rest of the cast and on TV little is mentioned in the programme apart from a TV appearance on Blair (Channel 4).

However what James lacks in credits so far he makes up for in acting ability. I found him bloody hilarious. He reminded me somewhat of Rowan Atrkinson, somebody who can make you laugh before they actually say anything and when they do speak it's still funny.

It will be interesting to see if James career continues to be mainly Theatre or if somebody on TV will notice his talent.

The rest of the cast couldn't be faulted either. We were lucky enough to see Myfanwy Waring (probably best known as PC Amber Johannsen in The Bill) in this performance as Jill Wyvern because, after the show, she advised us this had been her last appearance in the role. Jill is a very hoity-toity posh-but-funny character and Myfanwy plays it perfectly.

Jeffrey Holland and Judy BuxtonJudy Buxton, who is married to "Hi De Hi's" Jeffrey Holland, we have now seen several times in theatrical productions.

She never fails to give a consistently brilliant performance - whatever the role.
She is also, like her hubby, very very friendly and on this occasion Jeffrey happened to be meeting his beloved after the show. We'd met Geoffrey before but it was a good opportunity to request a picture with them both this time. I love watching either of this married couple act.

Victor Spinetti is a well known, respected name, in theatre and TV and as you would expect his role as the rather pompous Captain Biggar is one he took to like a duck to water.

I haven't mentioned every single member of the cast as I will just go on and on but the acting was excellent from all.

As I said early on I don't regard this as the most hilarious of comedies by any means but, don't get me wrong it will keep you laughing through to the end.

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