Review Roundup: PERFECT NONSENSE Starring Macfadyen and Mangan
Let's see what the critics had to say:
Michael Coveney of whatsonstage.com writes: Macfadyen's blank canvas - this strikingly good-looking Jeeves avoids both the oleaginous creepiness of Dennis Price and the eccentric muttering of Michael Hordern - is vividly occupied not only by a goggle-eyed Gussie, but also by an absurdly seductive Madeline (in a lampshade and half a curtain), as well as her father Sir Watkyn (white bushy hairpiece and thrusting pipe) and his ward, Stiffy Byng, a sort of low-rent Lauren Bacall in a purple frock.
Michael Billington of the Guardian writes: How do you dramatise a sublime novel like PG Wodehouse's The Code of the Woosters? The answer, in this new version by the Goodale Brothers, is to turn it into a play supposedly written by Bertie Wooster himself. The result is an effortful and occasionally inspired piece with strong echoes - unsurprisingly, given that it is directed by Sean Foley - of the comedy duo The Right Size and their Morecambe and Wise tribute, The Play What I Wrote.
Paul Taylor of the Independent writes: The nudge-nudge pretence of chaotic amateurism in Sean Foley's knockabout production (the bicycle-powered revolve, say) can get a bit tiresome. But Macfadyen and Hadfield turn in tours de force of inspired silliness and versatility. And I don't see how Mangan, with his honking toff's laugh and his lovely aura of benign dimness and noblesse oblige, could be bettered as Bertie. By and large, top-hole.
Henry Hitchings of the Evening Standard writes: Although the plot is thinner than an ant's eyebrow, there's plenty of clever and silly business, buoyed by the expert performances of Matthew Macfadyen and Stephen Mangan... There aren't many better comic actors than Mangan, and here he's on stunning form as Bertie, a flawed raconteur who at moments of embarrassment hides behind the cheesiest of grins. He's genial, toothy, sleek yet also ludicrous, and Mangan makes him seem a delicious mix of charm and panicked idiocy.
Charles Spencer of the Daily Telegraph writes: Sean Foley (The Ladykillers) is a great comic director, however, and he is once again in winning mid-season form here. The pretext of Perfect Nonsense, neatly adapted by the Goodale Brothers from The Code of the Woosters (1937), is that Bertie is presenting a show on the West End stage about his recent harrowing experiences at Totleigh Towers to which he was dispatched by his Aunt Dahlia to steal an antique silver cow-creamer.