Bertie Wooster has bitten off more of The Big Apple than he can chew. All attempts to inflict his charming ineptitude on America and break into show biz are foiled by a kooky childhood friend “Binky” and vengeful thug “Knuckles McCann”. Will his illustrious manservant Jeeves save the scene and the day?
“A wonderfully comedic escape” – Tom Williams, Chicago Critic
Produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc. (www.playscripts.com)
More about the show
P.G. Wodehouse’s beloved comic characters will take the stage for the third time in Jeeves Takes a Bow, September 8 to 30. The British comedy, adapted by playwright Margaret Raether, includes so many bizarre calamities you’ll wonder until the last moment just how our faithful hero-butler will save the day.
In this installment, the charming and feckless Bertie Wooster (played by Kirk Smith) is paying a visit to the Big Apple. He’s crossed the pond with his considerable fortune, talent for trouble, and his long-suffering (all-knowing) manservant: Jeeves (reprised for a third time by Bernard Cuffling). In Manhattan, they discover that Bertie’s rather dim old school chum, “Binky” (played by Colin Doyle), has abandoned his diplomatic career in order to take a bit part in a racy show starring the luscious, ditzy, “Ruby” (played by Robyn Wallis) But appearances must be maintained back home!
In less than a New York minute, Bertie is entangled with a lovelorn pal, swapped identities, a dangerous bootlegger named Knuckles (played by Declan O’Reilly), a surprise fiancée named Vivienne (played by Kate Richard), and a Broadway musical called “Naughty Natalie!” Once again, it’s up to level-headed Jeeves to save the day – and steal the show!
“Jeeves is a jumble of creative mishaps that makes for simply great theatre,” says director, Mark DuMez. “Our actors do an exceptional job of balancing reality and absurdity so that we can relate to the loving and quirky bonds between the characters – and feel relieved that it’s not us cleaning up the mess.”
Wodehouse’s collected Jeeves series includes thirty-five short stories and ten full-length novels, first published during periods of economic depression, war, and political and social upheaval. It continues to resonate with every generation for its likeability. Few could turn down the camaraderie, mischief, modish slang, shrewd insinuations, gratuitous abbreviations, bewildering metaphors, and delightfully lavish narratives.
The talented production team who bring Manhattan to the Festival stage includes: Amanda Larder, set design; C.S. Fergusson, costume design; Nicole Lamb, Lighting Designer; Lisa Russell, Stage Manager; Rebecca Marchand, Apprentice Stage Manager.
As I write these notes, in preparation for rehearsal, we are in the high season of summer at the Chemainus Theatre Festival. At this time of year, Rock Legends is moving into its final weeks, our Kidzplay show has thousands of kids coming to the theatre, Talley’s Folly is about to open in the Studio and the Jeeves actors about to arrive in town. In the summer, with multiple venues and shows, this non-profit society earns its Festival title. From a numbers perspective, this unique high -time of late summer/early fall brings 50 guest actors, musicians and crew to town — in addition to the hard working arts organization staff and contractors you see in the back of this program. With you support through season and single show tickets, fundraising contributions and attendance, Chemainus thrives with artistry and talent.
Since I began my career, I have wanted to work in a community like this — one that values spirit story and artistry. I am thankful to find these values in our creative spaces time and time again. And now, as we produce the third show in the immensely popular Jeeves series, I want to take a moment to highlight one specific artist in the mix — Bernard Cuffling. Yes, he is a member of the B.C. Hall of Fame. (Every time I am downtown in Vancouver, I take a picture by his sidewalk star). Yes, he has directed and performed all over Canada and numerous times at Chemainus Theatre Festival, delighting thousands — perhaps millions by now. Yes, he is a consummate storyteller and if you get a chance to hear him as raconteur at one of our Member’s Events, you will be delighted. But along with his fame and character — like so many of the lovely artists I have had the pleasure to spend time with in Chemainus – Bernard consistently reminds me of the values of spirit, story and artistry. In the extremes of comic delights, dramatic intensity or backstage confines, he dignifies those around him. Like all the best artists, he is a servant to the creative work.
To Bernard and all of those wonderful artists and people dedicated to the creative process like him—thank you for enriching our lives and our Island with your talent and your spirit!