Edinburgh Fringe 2014
A drawing room parody on the Jeeves and Wooster tales of PG Woodhouse that sees the master dragged out of the mire by his ever attentive and inventive manservant. With a twist.
Jolly good show this, chaps. Upper Lip is a drawing room parody on the Jeeves and Wooster tales of PG Woodhouse which sees dilettante Samuel Plumwood of Plumwood House, by jove (Dominic Rye), forever getting himself into a jam and requiring the endless imagination and wit of Rinehart, his faithful manservant (Canavan Connolly) to extricate him from said mess.
Plumwood has got himself into yet another accidental engagement – not the dinner sort, you understand, but a potential betrothal to one of society’s up and coming young things. Digging his master out of this fix seems possible, but the fly in the proverbial ointment for Rinehart to deal with is Plumwood’s pesky Aunt Lucretia.
Rye and Connolly work beautifully together, playing the many gags for all they’re worth and paying due homage to that pair of iconic literary characters. The badinage where they affirm their mutual disregard of the 99% of the population whose labours are keeping them in the style to which they are both completely wedded was a particularly biting yet amusing piece of satire and delivered with such joyful innocence.
To the witty dialogue is added some amusing physical theatre, which includes one of the more inventive comic chases on show at the Fringe, with our daring duo escaping on a tandem constructed from the most unlikely everyday household items. One or two lines went slightly astray and there appeared to be a couple of sound glitches (including the classic that prompts the ad lib of ‘Was that the door bell I just heard’) but nothing to spoil the enjoyment of this jolly forty minutes.
But there’s more to this piece than the satirical expose of the British class system. The ever-scheming Rinehart has a dark secret. And just who is Chipperfield and what does she represent? All is cunningly exposed in a denouement that catches the audience off-guard.
This is a delightfully nostalgic piece with an interesting twist – just like one of those cocktails Rinehart is so adept at producing for his master.