Wodehouse in Wonderland at The Churchill Theatre

Based on the life and writings of P.G. Wodehouse with songs by Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Ivor Novello with lyrics by P.G. Wodehouse. The play, Wodehouse in Wonderland, is set in the home of P.G. Wodehouse in Long Island, New York during the latter 1950’s and beyond.

We join Wodehouse, also known fondly as ‘Plum’, in his home as he is attempting to write but whom is consistently disturbed by his cherished wife, daughter Leonora ‘Snorkels’, his two Pekingese dogs and biographer Mr Phillips.

The story takes the form of a monologue of letters to his daughter Snorkels, the retelling of his life stories to his biographer, Mr Phillips and songs.

Wodehouse, played by the esteemed actor Robert Daws, shares many stories about Jeeves, his affection for the American soap operas, his countless other books and other characters to which he is very fond of. He switches between the various characters, letters, interviews and phone calls seamlessly. Drawing the audience in to a slice of his life and the passion he has for his writing using whit and humility. In Act II we understand more about his childhood and deep personal history, as well as the emotional and raw loss of a family member.

The journey which Robert Daws takes us on is both humorous and emotional in parts. The narrative of the play is clear and takes on a rhythmic flow to enable the harmonious interjection of varying sentiments of warmth and sympathy.

The play, directed by Robin Herford, was engaging and uncomplicated: allowing Robert Daws to move naturally around the set with ease. The set was simple but effective and didn’t look swamped on the vast stage of the Churchill Theatre. The lighting was sympathetic to the setting and the sound was suitable for the piece. The lack of a live band or orchestra did not take anything away from atmosphere.

Wodehouse in Wonderland is a great example of theatre at its very best.

Review by Sally Smith.

Wodehouse in Wonderland is on at The Churchill Theatre until the 11th March. You can find out more about the show and book tickets here.

If you like this review you might also like my review of Blood Brothers, Sister Act and Jumping The Shark.

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