I dare you not to laugh — to laugh uproariously at the high jinks on the Taproot Theatre stage, as Jeeves the butler rescues Bertie Wooster and his upper-class friends and relations from the ridiculous situations they create for themselves.
“Jeeves in Bloom,” Margaret Raether’s stage adaptation from works of fiction by the prolific P.G. Wodehouse, wonderfully captures the late British humorist’s renowned wit.
Here the twittish Bertie (Aaron Lamb) has been summoned to the country house of his aunt and uncle. Jeeves accompanies him, and thank goodness for that. All too quickly, Jeeves’ many talents are called into service as nefarious plots, bizarre escapades and romantic interludes play out in the quiet English countryside.
It all adds up to delicious farce, and, as farce should be, the timing is impeccable.
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Karen Lund’s direction keeps everything moving at a swift pace. She wisely decided not to copy the well-known Stephen Fry/Hugh Laurie television adaptations of Wodehouse stories, but to give this production Taproot’s own Anglophile stamp.
Matt Shimkus plays Jeeves with hauteur, ever helpful but above it all, a sensible person surrounded by idiots. Lamb, as Bertie, creates a portrait of a lovable goofball. Special kudos go to Randy Scholz, as nerdy newt specialist Augustus Fink-Nottle, for his unforgettable portrayal of mating rituals within a lower phylum.
There’s not a weak actor or a bad move throughout the entire production. Mark Lund’s set with its images of sky and clouds works well. Sarah Burch Gordon’s costumes are a delight, and thanks to Christine Marie Brown, the dialect coach, the accents are pleasing to the ear.
Such a silly play shouldn’t be charming, but it is. At the same time, there are within it a few well-taken insights into the British class system.
For those who wish further exploration of Wodehouse humor, Taproot is sponsoring a panel discussion with director Lund and two experts on the subject, Ian Michaud and Thomas L.R. Smith, at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at the theater in the Greenwood neighborhood. The event is free, but tickets must be reserved in advance.
Nancy Worssam: firstname.lastname@example.org