OAK BROOK – The lovable, if thick-headed playboy, Bertie Wooster and his wise, unflappable valet, Jeeves, are back and making waves onstage in First Folio Theatre’s Midwest premiere of “Jeeves at Sea,” Margaret Raether’s latest comedy.
Raether again bases her play on characters created by the late, much-admired English writer P.G. Wodehouse. Other similar adaptations of hers include “Jeeves Intervenes,” “Jeeves in Bloom” and “Jeeves Takes a Bow” – each of which First Folio also has presented in recent years.
Directed by Alison C. Vesley, “Jeeves at Sea” is set in 1929 aboard a yacht anchored in Monaco Harbor. Wooster (Christian Gray) has a penchant for getting into hot water, and in this latest outing he wastes no time.
The young man finds himself entangled between the lovely Lady Stella (Kate McDermott), to whom he has romantic intentions and her traveling companion Miss Minerva (Whitney Morse), whose support he must curry in order for Wooster’s relationship to advance.
Complicating matters are “twin” brothers Percy and Alfred Crumpworth (Andrew Behling), evading an officious Count Otto (Joe Foust), who has boarded the ship in pursuit of Percy in connection with the assault of a visiting prince. Percy was on a bender and disavows any recollection of the prior night’s events.
Jeeves (Jim McCance) himself faces plenty of challenges to set things aright in a plot that thickens with each scene. Vesley’s cast is unfaltering when it comes to split-second timing in delivering their lines and in the script’s required rapid entrances and exits.
The fact that the two leads (McCance and Gray) have worked together before adds to the chemistry of this fun play. The pair reprise character roles they previously assumed in three prior Wodehouse adaptations on the First Folio stage.
Credit Christopher Kriz for original music and sound; Angela Weber Miller for scenic design; Zach Alexander for period costumes; and Kevin McKillip as movement direction.
Tom Witom is a freelance editor and writer and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go . . .
"Jeeves at Sea"
Where: First Folio at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook
When: Through Feb. 28
Cost: Tickets range from $22-39
Info: Call 630-986-8067 or visit www.firstfolio.org for more information.