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Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010

‘Jeeves Intervenes’ With Style at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre

Theater Review

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Milwaukee Chamber Theatre opens its 2010-2011 season with Jeeves Intervenes, a light, precisely executed comedy based on characters created by P.G. Wodehouse. Chris Klopatek offers up some pleasantly over-the-top physical comedy as Bertie Wooster, a wealthy gentleman of leisure who would be positively unable to function without the aid of his personal valet, Jeeves (expertly portrayed by Matt Daniels). As a figure of seemingly limitless knowledge who always seems to be in the right place at the right time, Jeeves needs to possess almost superhuman capabilities. Daniels admirably delivers the character’s perfection, having the right drink, handkerchief or spot of tea available at the most opportune of moments.

Bertie finds himself in a bit of a bind when Aunt Agatha (Milwaukee Rep resident actress Laura Gordon in a comically tyrannical turn) finds a woman who is keen to marry Bertie. The woman in question is the confident, intellectual Gertrude (played with charm and poise by Alison Mary Forbes). As Bertie would rather not be married, he turns to Jeeves for help. Jeeves is also challenged to help Bertie’s old schoolmate Eustace (nice guy Rick Pendzich) prove to his uncle that he’s supporting himself quite well and doesn’t need to be sent to India to become a man. Seasoned Rep resident actor Peter Silbert plays Eustace’s uncle.

The ensemble creates beautiful balance, with three pairs of actors playing brilliantly off of each other. Silbert and Gordon make for comic authority figures; Pendzich and Forbes play up an unlikely romantic connection; and, meanwhile, Daniels and Klopatek are opposites at the center of it all.

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s production of Jeeves Intervenes runs through Aug. 29 at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Cabot Theatre.

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