Matthew Macfadyen and Stephen Mangan to play Jeeves and Wooster

Posted on 3 June 2013

The incompetent but charming Bertie Jeeves and his long-suffering yet unflappable butler Wooster, are heading to the West End's Duke of York's Theatre in an all new production.  Written by brothers Robert and David Goodale, Perfect Nonsense is an adaptation of P G Wodehouse's The Code of the Woosters.   Their story is inspired by the original novel and has the full blessing of the Wodehouse Estate.

The two much-loved characters are well known to the wider public from the succesful tv adaptation of Wodehouse's books, Jeeves and Wooster, which starred Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry.  The show spawned four series in the early nineties.   The characters also gave rise to a musical adaptation, originally named Jeeves and considered at the time Andrew Lloyd Webber's only flop when it lasted just 38 performances in 1975.  It was more successfully re-written and re-staged as By Jeeves! in 1996, which lasted  for 10 months and eventually made it to Broadway.  A 1954 play Come On, Jeeves! was an Wodehouse and Guy Bolton play adapatation of the 1953 novel Ring For Jeeves that played at Worthing but never made it into London.  Perfect Nonsense will be the first time the characters have made their way to the West End in a straight play.

The new theatre production by the Goodale brothers will start its life with short runs at the Richmond Theatre from 10th to the 19th October, then 22nd to 26th October at the Brighton Theatre Royal.   It's West End previews will commence at the Duke Of York's Theatre on 30th October before the show officially opens on 12th November.   It will be directed by acclaimed director Sean Foley, hot on the heels of his success with the multi Olivier-nominated The Ladykillers.  His production of A Mad World, My Masters will be seen this spring at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Foley says of the upcoming show: "When the Goodale Brothers’ exceptional script, based on P.G Wodehouse's quintessential English double act of Jeeves and Wooster, was shown to me, I immediately knew I wanted to do it.  Wodehouse is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, English comic writer, and the challenge of putting his finest creation on stage for the very first time is a tremendously exciting one. Fortunately, in a show where casting really is everything, I am thrilled to invite Matthew Macfadyen to give us his Jeeves, and Stephen Mangan to show us his Wooster… We all aim to create a wonderful, funny, evening in the theatre that will leave existing fans of Wodehouse, and a new generation of enthusiasts, positively gruntled.’

Matthew Macfadyen is well known from his role as Tom Quinn in longrunning MI5 drama Spooks for the BBC and starred alongside Keira Knightley and Jude Law in 2012's Anna Karenina.  His stage roles include the Richard Eyre directed Private Lives at the Vaudeville Theatre in which he played opposite Kim Cattrall, and Prince Hal in Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 directed by Nicholas Hytner for the National Theatre.  Macfayden describes the upcoming Perfect Nonsense as "an absolute hoot - a wonderfully crafted and joyful bit of perfect nonsense and I am delighted to be a part of it."

Stephen Mangan is known for tv roles on Green Wing and I'm Alan Partridge.  His current series Episodes in which he stars opposite Green Wing  co-star Tamsin Greig and Matt Le Blanc has recently been recommissioned for a third run.  He has trodden the boards at the Old Vic in The Norman Conquests and at the Royal Court in The People Are Friendly.   Mangan enthuses: "I am ridiculously excited at the prospect of playing the mentally negligible Bertie Wooster on stage and can hardly wait to stagger into the glorious sunshine of Wodehouse's world. And with Jeeves, in the shape of Matthew Macfadyen by my side, what could possibly go wrong?"

Jeeves and Wooster: Perfect Nonsense tickets at the Duke of York's Theatre are on sale now