By Margaret Raether
(Based on the short stories of P.G. Wodehouse)
Director: Alison C Vesely
Scenic Design: Angela Miller
Costume Design: Elsa Hiltner
Lighting Design: Shelley Holland
Sound Designer: Christopher Kriz
Stage Manager: Kate Danziger
Assistant Stage Manager: Hanna Supanich-Winter
We Need More Jeeves
Margaret Raether’s play, based on P.G. Wodehouse stories about wealthy, naïve and inept Bertie Wooster and his ever-faithful valet, Jeeves, is your drawing room comedy with a beautifully exquisite Art Deco set by Angela Miller. Her design could work, if needed, in any much larger theater in the country. What exquisite lines and craftsmanship! The neutral colors and crisp black edges match the subtle but sharp wit of Jeeves (Jim McCance). He calmly anchors saneness among a plethora of very funny characters. As the straight man, a raise of his eyebrow increases humor all around.
The perfectly selected cast shows great comfort in the shoes of their characters, since they played them previously in two other Jeeves plays. In the current “Jeeves Takes a Bow” New York City 1920’s prohibition culture hits rich British characters broadside, and the play winds up the second act with a zany romp in a third setting, saved by the physical comedy especially hilarious from Binky (Kevin McKillip) and Bertie (Christian Gray). Who could recognize Gray switching from Poe (“The Madness of Edgar Alan Poe”) to the ne’r do well British Bertie…extremely honed acting indeed for both roles with only very minor makeup changes from one to the other.
After five years David Rice, co-founder of First Folio Theater, takes to the stage as gun toting Knuckles Moran, and is a very funny treat to watch. Finally, the uptight Vivian (Lydia Berger Gray) and the ditsy but determined damsel, Ruby, (Jennifer Shine) strongly hold their own against the four male powerhouses. In fact, in the after-play discussion, an audience member remarked on the clear diction of each unmiked cast member…no one liners were lost, as is sometimes the case with such a fast moving comedy
With our current mode of abbreviated words in newspapers and magazines and texting speak, enjoy the full British precision of the English language in Jeeves, and awaken your ears to its beauty and complexity. Jeeves provides not only exact language, but the most colorful sophisticated insults…a lost art from a bygone era. Even the novel slang and expressions like “a sticky wicket” prove amusing. “Jeeves Takes a Bow” is all silly fun with little social commentary…a wonderfully comedic escape from our complex day-to-day concerns. We need more Jeeves!
Date Reviewed: February 13, 2013
Performances: Feb 2 -Mar 3, 2013. Wednesdays, Fridays and-Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.
Tickets -$30 to $37; Seniors: $26-$32. Call the box office at 630-986-8067 or purchase on line at www.firstfolio.org
First Folio Theatre –Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st Street and Route 83, Oak Brook. IL. (Free parking on the premises)