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High-society high jinks flower during Jeeves In Bloom
You can’t fool Mother Nature, nor Jeeves.
The canny valet to English dandy Bertie Wooster comically displays his wiles in Chemainus Theatre’s comical romp Jeeves In Bloom, budding on March 21.
Toronto-based actor Warren Bain explained he’s happily making his valley theatre debut as Wooster, opposite stage veteran Bernard Cuffling as Jeeves — and director Mark Dumez’s tight cast of quirky characters.
“We’re all perfecting our British accents — except (U.K. natives) Bernard, and Ian Farthing.”
“What drew me to this play was its adaptation (by Margaret Raether) of P.G. Wodehouse’s story; he wrote a vast library on Jeeves and Wooster,” said Bain, calling Jeeves “a gentleman’s gentleman.”
But Jeeves is also a mystery man “with all of the answers, all of the time.”
His insight helps Wooster wiggle through the mild insanity imbuing JIB.
“This is clever, fast, and witty with lots of physical humour; it’s farce with a backbone,” said Bain.
Bloom’s spine winds around Wooster’s pal, Gussie Fink-Nottle (Jesse Martyn), a pet-newt nut who falls for socialite Madeline Basset (Ella Simon).
“Gussie comes to Bertie for advice about women; he’s (actually) come to talk to Jeeves because Jeeves knows everything.
“Jeeves can fix everything, but Bertie thinks he can fix everything.”
The wrench drops in during a visit to the countryside estate of Brinkley Court.
“That’s when things start getting complicated with Madeline; she falls for Bertie, but I want her to fall in love with Gussie.
“At the same time,” Bain explained, “my aunt, Dahlia Travers (Linda Goranson), wants me to help her steal the Travers’ diamonds, which are hers, so she can pay for a women’s magazine she publishes.”
Mix in an angry French chef (Farthing), Dahlia’s grouchy husband Thomas Travers (Farthing also), plus some escaped newts, and viola — romantic comedy.
“Mayhem ensues in a wonderfully bubbly way,” said Bain, who relates to Wooster the nice rooster.
“He’s my age, an aristocrat who avoids getting married. Bertie would rather hang out at the boys’ club, and get into mayhem and mischief.
“Bertie’s not a snob. He’s a confirmed bachelor, but he has a slew of aunts playing matchmaker.”
Still, Wooster’s no cad, added Bain.
“He’s a very nice guy; wonderfully proper, with manners and decorum.”
Jeeves keeps that way.
“Jeeves is where we get all our ideas of an archetypical butler, even though he’s a valet.”
What: Jeeves In Bloom
When: March 21 to April 26
Where: Chemainus Theatre
Tickets: Call 250-246-9800