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Today’s show at York Theatre Royal featured a tour de force from Robert Daws as P.G.Wodehouse, better known to his friends as Plum. (Apparently that came about due to his inability as a small child to pronounce his given name of Pelham.)
I’d seen Robert on television many times as Bertie Wooster’s friend and fellow Drone Tuppy Glossop as well as in person when we both worked on ‘The Royal’, but this was the first time I’d heard him sing, which he did very well. As the show progressed, I realized how little I’d actually known about Wodehouse either, including the fact that he’d written musical comedies for Broadway in collaboration with Jerome Kern.
The second half of the show was darker, as it dealt with the aftermath of Wodehouse’s WW2 internment by the Germans and subsequent accusations of treachery when broadcasts intended only for the United States were played on British radio. There was also the tragic death of his much loved stepdaughter Leonora and his long exile from his homeland.
The thunderous applause at the end included considerable whooping from some members of the audience, including the lady who’d been seated next to me throughout the performance. We hadn’t exchanged a word, so I shall never know whether she was just an ardent fan of Robert’s or always carried on like that. Not as odd, perhaps, as the couple on the other side who’d arrived wearing face masks but removed them to enjoy the show.
22 April, 2023