I always enjoy a show that begins at the end. Jeeves in Bloom, the hilarious comedy at Taproot Theatre, starts in an uproar and gets funnier from there. The play follows the bumbling misadventures of Bertie Wooster (played by Aaron Lamb) and his omnipotent valet Jeeves (played by Matt Shimkus). What is funny about this play is that it is full of wacky characters that get into zany situations while using witty banter and great physical comedy. Bertie is a rich young man who gets into these situations because he needs to be the gentleman. He has a powerful sense of loyalty towards his friends and family but his lack of good sense just causes more trouble when he tries to help them. His faithful valet Jeeves has a great deal of common sense which comes in handy when getting Bertie out of his dilemmas. Bertie is not the only character needing Jeeves’s assistance. Bertie’s friend Augustus Fink-Nottle (played by Randy Scholz) is an expert when it comes to newts but when it comes to the woman he loves he can’t spit out a word. He loves Madeline Basset (played by Marianna De Fazio) who is not very well grounded in reality. She sees the world in a very romantic way, full of poetry and fairies. Also making Bertie’s life difficult is his scheming Aunt Dahlia (played by Kim Morris), his paranoid Uncle Tom (played by Stephen Grenley), and a cleaver-wielding chef named Anatole (played by Parker Matthews).
Margaret Raether has done a great job adapting the Jeeves and Wooster stories written by P.G. Wodehouse. I really enjoyed the snappy dialogue. Although it is set in the 1920s, this play had me laughing out loud. Director Karen Lund obviously understands Wodehouse’s timeless comedy because her production of Jeeves in Bloom had the whole audience in stitches. She's put together a fantastic cast and the Wodehouse story really benefits from their great ensemble work. Whether it is Grenley as Uncle Tom reacting to drinking Jeeves' potion, or Randy Scholz as Augustus drunkenly gathering his courage, the whole cast embraces their zany characters. I also liked the realistic feeling of the period sets and costumes which provide a grounding amidst the all the insanity.
This is a funny show played well by excellent actors that had me laughing from beginning to end.
Jeeves in Bloom
Through March 2
More info at taproottheatre.org