St. Vincent Summer Theatre's 'Jeeves in Bloom' is all-ages comedy
A plan to help a friend find true love backfires with comical results in “Jeeves in Bloom,” on stage this month at St. Vincent Summer Theatre near Latrobe.
The play is adapted from the popular “Jeeves and Wooster” stories of British author P.G. Wodehouse. Jeeves is the valet of Bertie Wooster, a carefree man-about-town in 1930s London. Although Bertie is a kind-hearted soul who would help anyone, he frequently ends up in predicaments that only the brilliantly clever Jeeves can solve.
In “Jeeves in Bloom,” Bertie and Jeeves travel to a country house belonging to Bertie's aunt and uncle. While there, Bertie plans to help his socially clumsy friend Gussie Fink-Nottle woo Madeline Bassett, an innocent, but hopelessly romantic, young lady. Bertie's efforts result in an embarrassing mix-up with Madeline, not to mention his involvement in a burglary and attacks by a crazed French chef. As always, Jeeves comes to his rescue with a plan to save the day.
The play, one of only a few based on the Jeeves and Wooster stories, hit a soft spot in the heart of director Colleen Reilly.
“P.G. Wodehouse was a wonderful, wonderful writer,” she says. “The language is so much fun. I've loved his stories since I was a little kid, when my father read them to me.”
With its sweet humor and witty writing, the play is suitable for all ages. “It's a wonderfully innocent, but also intelligent, type of humor,” Reilly says. “The language is dazzling.”
The characters themselves are likeable people with endearing qualities.
“Bertie Wooster is a decent, good-hearted soul,” Reilly says, “and Jeeves is very caring. He takes good care of Bertie. And Bertie is always willing to help out a friend.”
Much of the comedy ensues when Bertie's efforts to help others put him in sticky situations that require his valet's assistance to fix.
The always-reliable Jeeves is played by Stuart Pankin, a veteran of the St. Vincent stage. “Jeeves comes up with these schemes to solve the problems,” Pankin says. “He's tricky and he's cunning and he's subtle, and he gets the job done.”
While Jeeves maintains a cool, professional demeanor, his employer is just the opposite. “Bertie is flighty. He doesn't care about the intellectual side of life,” Pankin says. His pal Gussie, meanwhile, is mainly obsessed with the breeding habits of newts.
Gussie's love interest, Madeline Bassett, is played by Daina Michelle Griffith. “Madeline is very feminine; she's dainty and fanciful and innocent,” Griffith says. “She's very romantic; she believes in true love. If anyone shows her affection, she immediately believes he's her true love.”
Madeline's propensity to fall in love at the drop of a hat adds to the comical problems for everyone involved. “It's a very funny, frothy comedy,” Pankin says.
Griffith says that after watching the play, audiences will feel they have eavesdropped on the lives of a very likeable group of people.
“You love these characters for their quirks and for their honesty,” she says. “They're so funny and sweet. You leave thinking, ‘I'm glad I just saw that.'”
Cynthia Bombach Helzel is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Polamalu enters training camp as Steelers’ longest tenured player
- Starkey: Pirates, Burnett could work again
- Pirates notebook: Phillies’ Burnett not demanding trade
- Outfielder Polanco driving force for Pirates in victory over Dodgers
- Allegheny County warns of uptick in Lyme disease cases
- Selig: Pirates’ rebirth a positive step for baseball
- Pitt swingman Jones ready for breakout season
- Contractor shot, killed in Homewood
- White Oak no-kill shelter attorney appeals civil decision
- Stricter tailgating rules put in place for Aldean show at PNC Park
- Jefferson Hospital doctor serves as panelist for mental health legislation