Theater archives

English Trifle: Good Eggs and Bon Mot Bobblers


Just what the doctor ordered: Good Morning, Bill, a fizzy P.G. Wodehouse cocktail circa 1927, contains one bona fide bon-mot-bobbling fop, one nerve-specialist uncle with a high golf handicap, one good-egg gentleman farmer, a woman doctor (handicap: 6), and a shrewd, low-class flapper. The good-egg g.f. is the Bill in question (Jeremiah Wiggins—itself a Wodehousian handle), lately dazzled by a woman he’s seen on the links. (“She’s a poem, Squiffy,” he blathers.) She turns out to be Dr. Sally Smith (Heidi Armbruster), called upon by chance to attend to the l.c. flapper Lottie (Bridget Ann White), who has fainted away upon being thrown over by Bill for the as-yet-unmet poem.

The Keen Company’s sunny production transpires in designer Nathan Heverin’s bright drawing rooms, with able bantering by all. Nick Toren, as Lord Tidmouth (a/k/a “Squiffy”), enters most completely into the Wodehouse spirit, recounting the marital bad luck visited upon him by an unlucky umbrella, or musing on the proper gift for his first wife’s second son’s third birthday. Accused of being a “mere butterfly,” he is quick to demur: “Pardon me, I may be a butterfly, but I’m not ‘mere.’ ” Similarly, Wodehouse’s brand of “musical comedy without the music,” flutters by pleasantly but in the quality of its absurdities and its incessant well-shaped banter, whatever Good Morning is, it is never mere.