In a performed reading of a new play
Based on the life and writing of P.G. WODEHOUSE
JEROME KERN, GEORGE GERSHWIN, COLE PORTER, IVOR NOVELLO.
And lyrics by
by P G WODEHOUSE
Our play takes place in Pelham Grenville Wodehouse’s spacious home in New York State in the late 1950s.
At an age when most chaps have long retired from the fray, Plum, as he’s known to family and friends, is up early and at his typewriter beetling away at the latest adventures of Bertie Wooster. Or trying to, because life has an inconvenient habit of intruding. Amongst those making demands are a young would-be biographer who won’t take no for an answer, Plum’s beloved wife who wants her coffee and toast for breakfast, and the pekingese, Squeaky and Wonder, who want walkies.
Plum juggles all these while he struggles to finish his 1000 words a day and also chats to his adored daughter Snorkles, and to us. He shares intriguing tit-bits, such as how Jeeves first entered his life, how he became addicted to American soap operas, and why he made the momentous decision to ignore real life in his novels and write books that were “like musical comedies without music”.
He sings us the occasional song as well – show tunes by Broadway legends, the lyrics all written by Plum when he too was top of the Broadway tree.
And he entertains us with much-loved characters such as Bertie Wooster and Jeeves; Lord Emsworth and his pig the legendary prize-winning Empress of Blandings; and Gussie Fink-Nottle and the squashily romantic Madeline Bassett, who believes that every time a fairy blows its wee nose a baby is born and who terrifies the life out of Bertie....
All in all Plum puts on a spiffing show, dedicated as ever to avoiding any hint of seriousness. But persistent probing from his infuriating young biographer reveals an at times darker story beneath the fun.
William Humble has written a number of highly-acclaimed films for BBC TV, including the Emmy-award winning On Giant's Shoulders, with Judi Dench. Also the BAFTA-nominated Hancock, with Alfred Molina, and Virtuoso, about the concert pianist John Ogdon, again with Alfred Molina, and Alison Steadman. He also wrote Ex, with Griff Rhys Jones and Geraldine James, and the comedy Royal Celebration, with Leslie Phillips, Minnie Driver and Rupert Graves. Other BBC TV films include Poppyland and Talk To Me, both starring Alan Howard, and Rules of Justice with June Brown.
His most recent shows for ITV are Too Good To Be True, a two-part psychological thriller with Niamh Cusack and Peter Davison. And the film Whatever Love Means,with Laurence Fox, Olivia Poulet and Richard Johnson.
For ITV he also dramatised Every Woman Knows A Secret from the novel by Rosie Thomas, and wrote the six part series An Unsuitable Job For A Woman - the first half based on a novel by P.D.James, the second an original story - with Helen Baxendale and Annette Crosbie. He dramatised anothert P.D.James novel, The Black Tower, as a six part series with Roy Marsden and Pauline Collins, and Mary Wesley's The Vacillations of Poppy Carew, with Tara Fitzgerald and Joseph Fiennes.
He has also written for Churchill - the Wilderness Years, Poirot, Flambards, Maigret with Michael Gambon, All Creatures Great and Small and Juliet Bravo.
His stage plays include: What A Performance, with David Suchet as comedian Sid Field, on tour and at the Queens Theatre Shaftesbury Avenue. Facades, with Frances de la Tour as Edith Sitwell and directed by Simon Callow, at the Lyric Hammersmith. Fly Away Home, with Hywel Bennett, Diana Quick and Roger Lloyd-Pack at the Lyric Hammersmith. Talk To Me with Alan Dobie and Robert Daws at the New End Theatre Hampstead. And Virtuoso, with Oliver Ford Davies, at the Wolsey Theatre Ipswich.
He has written several radio plays and two comic novels: A Tale of Arthur (1967, when a mere stripling) and The Diary of a Has-been (2016, when sadly no longer a stripling).