Brilliant comedy and dark tragedy


Perfect Nonsense

Last evening we attended the Durban premiere of Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense.

As we set out – without raingear – precipitation commenced.  It continued during our journey, made driving difficult when passing through areas suffering de-lightedly from load-shedding power cuts, and persisted when we found parking some distance from the theatre.  Our attempts to make the transition through the damp as swiftly as possible were frustrated by a downer when the upper of one of Much Better Half’s shoes parted company with the sole.  Hobble trouble, which made progress at the double impossi-bubble.

Somewhat soggy, we arrived with little time to spare, but were soon entranced by the sheer ingenuity of the show in concept, dialogue, sets (produced by various ‘impromptu’ miracles which are attributed to the inimitable Jeeves) and interpretation by the talented cast of three.  Bertie Wooster (Jonathan Roxmouth) recounts the story while Graham Hopkins as Jeeves, and Robert Fridjhon as Seppings, do their own parts but also have to supply him with impersonations of numerous other characters including Aunt Dahlia, Sir Roderick Spode, Madeleine Basset, and Gussie Fink-Nottle.  At one stage on one stage three actors are staged as playing four.  One is female, front view; and male, back view.  A dog, Bartholomew, is however played by a puppet which gets very attached to one of the characters – by the leg, with teeth.  The whole thing is incredibly clever, and hilariously funny.  Those who have never encountered Wodehouse before could find no better place to do so, and fans of the books will love this version.

Cow creamer

At interval, after suitable congratulations, I asked the director, Steven Stead, if there was any duct tape backstage for MBH’s shoe.  ‘I’ll find some gaffer tape for you there after the show,’ he responded.

I staggered back.  ‘Oops,’ I said.  ‘I’ve just corrected a script I’m editing for a playwright from Scotland who used that term,’

‘That’s what it’s known as in theatrical circles,’ I was assured.

I do love these synchronistic aids to my editing endeavours …

Anyway, we were just wondering if there was time to grab some wine from the bar when everyone suddenly took the dimmest possible view of everything … due to an unscheduled power cut.

That was it.  The second half couldn’t, and didn’t, happen.  The tradition of ‘the show must go on’ can’t apply when it has been structured to depend so much on electronic aid.  It was disappointing and frustrating for the audience; it must have been heartbreaking for everyone involved in the production.

If ‘that’s showbiz!’ it shouldn’t be – but in Darkest-Yet-Getting-Even-Darker Africa it is becoming normal.  Our telephone has been out for several days, and I had no internet for the whole of today.  It only came back on after we had a (scheduled) two-hour power-out at suppertime …

Though not all white

To say it’s black –

For PC types might

Feel a lack

Of sensitivity –

So it will have to be:

Well, fair enough,

It has gone dark –

Of brains and stuff

There’s not a spark

Of any kind in sight –

They’re simply not that bright.


(Guess what,

To add to all the blight

I’ve got


The net has taken flight!)

© Colonialist February 2015 (WordPress)

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
This entry was posted in Current Affairs, Editing, Humour, Language, Personal Journal, Satire, Theatre, Theatre Review and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Brilliant comedy and dark tragedy

  1. beeblu says:

    Well, it made for a very entertaining post. a friend in JHB has just bought a solar-powered generator and reports that it’s marvellous.


  2. calmgrove says:

    Commiserations over your power cuts — it must be both frustrating and miserable.


    • colonialist says:

      The worst part is that they don’t even stick to the schedule. They tend to arrive unexpectedly, but when all preparations are made such as saving everything and switching off computer and planning powerless activities – the power stays on!


      • calmgrove says:

        Are the reasons economic? Infrastructure? Geography? Or all these and more?


        • colonialist says:

          The reasons are decades of neglect, mismanagement and misplaced idealism. Corruption misdirecting funds which should have been deployed in maintenance/renewal, replacement of skilled personnel of the wrong colour with the totally inept of the right one, trying to fulfil unrealistic political promises, lawlessness whereby informal settlements put in illegal connections without payment – and these are just a sample of the causes, all of which may be laid at the door of the present administration.
          The official line, however, is that it is the fault of colonialism/apartheid.


  3. I love Wodehouse! I’d be heartbroken if a power cut stole the second half of an entertaining Wodehouse play from me. Your style of writing, incidentally, strikes me as quite Wodehousian… and there’s no greater compliment I can pay to someone whose words make me guffaw.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Grannymar says:

    It’s the way you tell ’em, Col. The way you tell ’em. May the power be with you!


  5. guyportman says:

    I didn’t realise there were so many power cuts in South Africa. I know most of the rest of continent suffers them. Hope the internet starts working soon.


  6. misswhiplash says:

    it just wasn’t your best day, was it? The rain, broken shoes, power cut…..never mind try again another day, tomorrow the sun may shine


  7. The Asian says:

    It’s a shame that you missed the second half of what seemed to be a very entertaining show.
    If iy makes you feel a tad better there’s load shedding here as well as 25 hours of no water…


  8. Your review of the evening’s entertainment is scintillating, even if the second half didn’t! When you’ve suffered the scheduled cuts, unscheduled ones seem like insults.


    • colonialist says:

      The show was a Rolls Royce trying to travel across a glacier.
      Anyway, after the pathetic absurdities of our ‘State of the Nation’ address, it seems obvious that disaster is the new norm here.


  9. Pussycat44 says:

    You’re still lucky in Durbs with the 2 hr outages. I now have to suffer outages of 4 hrs! A great pity that darkness descended on such a fine show.


    • colonialist says:

      At least that length of stoppage has yet to arrive here – although I suppose 2 X 2hr per day amounts to the same thing.
      I was glad that yesterday we finally caught the entire performance, power-out notwithstanding. The generators JUST held out.


  10. de Wets Wild says:

    The joys of ESKOM…


  11. Wish I could’ve been there, Col. I love this sort of thing. Here’s some good energy for the continued move.


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