- Farces are fun, especially those tinged with Brit wit.
Playwright Margaret Raether is obviously of like mind as she
has already transformed three of P.G. Wodehouse’s short
stories into farcical comedies, and all three are delighting
audiences in many American cities, including Milwaukee.
years ago, “Jeeves Intervenes” was the season opener at
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. Now two of the same characters
constitute a pair of the main players in “Jeeves in
himself, the clever and reliable butler, and his impish young
employer, Bertie Wooster, dramatize another wild tale of
improbability and intrigue, this time against the backdrop of
a visit to Bertie’s Aunt Dahlia.
Dahlia is in need of a temporary replacement for her injured
butler, and she is also in desperate straits for money to keep
the feminine magazine she publishes afloat. She is hoping that
Jeeves and Bertie can help her out, despite the fact that she
is not too impressed with Bertie’s capabilities. Really, no
one is. She figures that Jeeves will make up the difference.
surprises Aunt Dahlia by bringing along his college friend
Gussie, who happens to think he’s in love with Madeline,
Dahlia’s husband Tom’s ditzy niece, who is conveniently
visiting her uncle at the time of Bertie and Gussie’s visit.
last name (Fink-Nottle), as well as his obsessive fascination
with newts, provides a generous share of the humor in the
story. The characters of the romantic Madeline, who falsely
fancies herself a poet, of the self-impressed chef Anatole,
who fancies himself God’s gift to the culinary world, and
the idiotic Bertie, who fancies himself a clever creator of
schemes, also give us many laughs and a few groans.
Moses does a good job in his dual roles as Tom, Dahlia’s
paranoid, hypochondriacal husband, as well as her
temperamental, self-glorifying chef; his wife, Dahlia, is
strongly portrayed by Marcella Kearns. She is a force to be
moonstruck ditzes, Gussie and Madeline, who richly deserve
each other, are beautifully rendered by Matt Koester and the
multitalented Karen Estrada. I have yet to witness a role that
Karen Estrada cannot effectively play.
Daniels reprises his role inimitably as Jeeves, and his weird
little charge Bertie is amusingly created by the lively Chase
Stoeger. I came into the production with some regrets that
Chris Klopatek was not repeating his wonderful performance of
2010 as Bertie, but was well-entertained with Stoeger’s
enactment of the role. Overall, the strong cast accounted for
much of the play’s success.
luxurious set designed by Steve Barnes was idyllic for
portraying the idle rich. The costume design by Kim Instenes
was reflective of early 20th-century fashion among the
upper-class Brits, and the overall direction by Tami Workentin
in Bloom” continues through April 28 at the Broadway Theatre
Center, 158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee. Tickets for any
performance are still available and can be obtained by calling
414-291-7800 or by visiting milwaukeechambertheatre.com.