Translating a short story into a
play, adding some characters of her own and maintaining the
flavor and verve of the original is exactly what Margaret
Raether accomplished in her exhilarating "Jeeves
Intervenes," the season opener at the Milwaukee Chamber
Theatre on N. Broadway.
Well-paced, deliciously silly and packed with British wit,
this drawing room comedy, based on a short story by P. G.
Wodehouse, presents a series of problems that only the wise
and competent butler Jeeves can solve.
Bertie Wooster, a spoiled, spineless wastrel, is being
pressured into marriage by his crotchety Aunt Agatha, who
wants him to carry on the Wooster lineage. Her chosen
bride-to-be, Gertrude Winklesworth Bode, is a strong, rich
woman who is intent on molding Bertie into a man of her
His old school chum, Eustace Bassington-Bassington, another
ne'er-do-well presently being supported by his uncle,
immediately falls for Gertrude and tries to win her over while
hoodwinking his uncle into thinking that his nephew is a
Jeeves comes to the rescue, in his calm, cool and efficient
way, appeasing almost everyone. The only one left wanting is
poor Aunt Agatha, a case of poetic justice, yet her meddling
will surely find another avenue.
Matt Daniels is an impressive Jeeves. He is charming and
always in command, mixing his dignity and wisdom with a touch
of whimsy when no one is looking.
Chris Klopatek, as the lovable but weak rich boy, does his
comic schtick with his usual flair and ease. Rick Pendzich as
Eustace is wonderfully doltish, providing a striking contrast
to his smoother college buddy. The physical antics they engage
in provide much of the silliness.
Laura Gordon creates the prickly aunt with her inimitable
skill. Her costumes fit her tacky grandeur perfectly, thanks
to the ingenuity of costume designer Kim Instenes. Her
counterpart, Sir Rupert Watlington Pipps, the blustery
military uncle, is well-conceived by Peter Silbert. Alison
Mary Forbes rounds out the capable cast as the beautiful
damsel Gertrude, who is looking for a husband to mold.
Scenic designer Aaron Dyszelski provided a sunny, upscale
set. Alan Piotrowicz's creative lighting sometimes freezes
characters in a spotlight. Director Tami Workinten, a
well-known Milwaukee actor, succeeded in giving us a brisk,
cleverly timed period piece. She will doubtless wear a
director's hat again.
The show runs through Aug. 29 and sets the stage for a run
of the usual fare of well-chosen literary works. The next play
features a Wisconsin writer, Hamlin Garland, in
"Main-Traveled Roads," one I'm eagerly awaiting.
"Jeeves Intervenes" is a good choice for a summer
show. Don't miss it.