Martin Jarvis plays Bertie Wooster, Jeeves and an array of other PG Wodehouse characters in front of an enthusiastic, invited audiences.
1. Fixing It for Freddie – Bertie describes his attempts to reunite his chum Freddie with ex-fiancee Elizabeth. When things go wrong, will Jeeves shimmer to the rescue?
2. Bertie Changes His Mind – Jeeves describes his concern that Mr Wooster is considering adopting a daughter. Perhaps a timely visit to a school for young ladies may change his master’s mind?
1. Jeeves and the Song of Songs – In this one-man tour de force, as well as the characters of Jeeves and Wooster, Jarvis also characterises the bleating Tuppy Glossop, controlling Aunt Dahlia and about a thousand costermongers.
2. Jeeves Takes Charge – This is Bertie’s account of how he hired Jeeves as his ‘gentleman’s personal’ gentleman. Jeeves’s first task is to assist Bertie in spiriting away a scandalous family memoir, before publication. And more crucially, extricating the young master from the clutches of Florence.
1. The Aunt and the Sluggard – While living in New York, Bertie has to persuade his brainy manservant Jeeves to concoct a spiffing plan, so that his poet pal Rocky can continue receiving a financial allowance from a rich aunt. The trouble is the aunt wants Rocky to have a good time visiting the fleshpots of Manhattan and to write her letters about it. But Rocky prefers to live as a recluse on Long Island, miles away. How on earth can it be done? Can Jeeves find a solution?
2. Jeeves and the Yule-Tide Spirit – Bertie Wooster recounts his visit to a Christmas Eve house party. There’s seasonal high-jinks as Bertie’s rival, Tuppy Glossop, is also a guest. Bertie is smitten with attractive Roberta Wickham. Jeeves doesn’t approve. Old scores must be settled in the dead of night, involving a darning needle and a punctured hot-water bottle. But will things go according to plan? Ask Jeeves!
1. Indian Summer of An Uncle – Bertie has to prevent an uncle from making a potentially embarrassing mistake.
2. The Great Sermon Handicap – At Twing Hall there’s a scheme afoot among the young guests to run a handicap on the length of the sermons preached by the vicars, and Bertie is persuaded by his nephews to fund their bets as well as his own.
Begins with a fade-in of a murmuring audience, followed by short intro music and applause. This adds warmth, intimacy and the feeling of a live stage performance. I am sure readers know the plot from both stories but in case any do not, I will refrain from offering any spoilers.
The audience seemed to be comprised of loyal PGW fans — laughing in all the right places, groaning at the various Bertie wheezes e.g. with Sir Roderick and the hot water bottle and enjoying listening to Jeeves hoover up the inevitable mess. Martin Jarvis’s different voices for Aunt Agatha, Sir Roderick Glossop, his nephew young Tuppy, Rocky and of course our stand-alone gentleman’s gentleman, were excellent and very distinct. Their lines were delivered perfectly.
However, there was one notable exception. I did not feel that Bertie sounded like Bertie. The unmistakable energy, youthful spring and bounce of his trumpety speech was not evident in MJ’s deep and gravelly voice. There were flickers every now and then as Martin worked with his crowd, but young Bertram Wooster’s lines often seemed to default back to his own voice. But this was easily forgiven and forgotten by the entertaining accent and funny performance of Aunt Isabel Rockmeteller.
- S01E01 – Fixing It for Bertie
- S01E02 – Bertie Changes His Mind
- S02E01 – Jeeves and the Song of Songs
- S02E02 – Jeeves Takes Charge
- S03E01 – The Aunt and the Sluggard
- S03E02 – Jeeves and the Yule-Tide Spirit
- S04E01 – Indian Summer of an Uncle
- S04E02 – The Great Sermon Handicap