Author: P.G. Wodehouse (adapted)
Released by: BBC Worldwide
I thought it best to review some of that "modern audio" that is spoken of in the tagline to this blog and what great place to start! Fans of the Jeeves and Wooster characters, whether it be through the original books, the television series or the numerous audio adaptations will have a lot to enjoy in this particular version, as will those as yet unacquainted with the duo.
For the uninitiated, Bertie Wooster is a man in the prime of life who may be rich in cash but is lacking in the brains department. His butler Jeeves more than makes up for Bertie's lack of wit and Jeeves, always of a stiff upper lip, can be counted on to pull poor Bertie out of trouble, usually of his own making.
I downloaded my copy of this 3 and a quarter audio here off of audible.com. In this version, Michael Holden plays Jeeves and Richard Briers plays Wooster. As Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie are probably the most famous pair to inhabit these esteemed roles in their popular television adaptations, I was curious to hear how Hold and Briers stacked up - very well indeed is the answer! Holden is a terrific Jeeves, every word spoken seeps with a delightful and subtle disdain for the parade of dizzy-headed idle rich. Briers' take on Wooster is with such gusto and go-getter-ism that you can't help but like the man despite himself.
The story that takes place amidst the whirlwind of jokes, wild situations and gags is relatively simple. Gussie Fink-Nuttle, a fish-faced man with an obsession with newts, is in love with the soppy Madeline Bassett, a friend of Bertie's cousin Angela. He's asked for Jeeves' assistance in the affair of the heart, which rather raise the rankles our Mr. Wooster, who feels he is more fitted for the task. After his Aunt Dahlia also enquires after Jeeves' assistance in repairing the relationship between her daughter, the aforementioned Angela, and her fiance Tuppy Glossop. On top of this, it appears Jeeves disapproves of Bertie's new French coat. Well it's enough to cause Wooster to declare that Jeeves has lost his skill and it is Bertie alone who can fix all problems! Of course, as you can well imagine, this does not go well and the several hours that follow the set-up move through the various fall-outs of Wooster's plans.
The wonderful comic timing of the regulars and the guests play a grand testament to Wodehouse's genuinely hilarious dialog and his deft plotting skills. Wodehouse's wit is of the highest quality and the only issue with the story is, is that it is so consistently funny and outrageous that you almost get rather used to being entertained at that level and what might be a crowning belly-laugh in another production becomes merely a chuckle here because your belly is already hurting from laughing so much.
An easy 5/5 Golden Masks and highly recommended to all fans of comedy.
The cover here features Bertie Wooster in a relaxing bath with his favorite rubber ducky.