Thursday, October 27, 2011

Right Ho, AudioGo!

Another review on a title courtesy of Audiobook Jukebox.
Publisher: AudioGo, Pub. Date: September 13, 2011, Length: 4 hours, 48 minutes

I went through a gorgeously long P.G. Wodehouse phase in middle school - checked out every title in my local library. (Same branch I visit constantly now. Have I mentioned that I love my librarians? They are the nicest.) Periodically over the past couple of years, I've listened to some of the BBC full cast audio versions of Bertie and Jeeves tales, but haven't run across any of the titles as narrated by Ian Carmichael, until Jeeves in the Offing. (I've had the pleasure of Carmichael's narration on several Dorothy L Sayers novels, and he just screams Lord Peter to me - his voice is always in my head when I read Sayers in print.)

Carmichael is just as deft with Bertie Wooster - joyful, energetic, a tad daft, full of plummy rolling 'Rrrr's and glib onomatopoeia fun. Jeeves, Kipper Herring, Aunt Dahlia, Bobbie Wickham, and all the tertiary characters are equally well-rendered. It's all such a perfect complement to a classic Wodehousian farce - fake engagements, familial obligations, butlers who aren't butlers, a dachshund, and the infamous silver cow creamer all interact at cross-purposes. Unless the purpose is to get Bertie into deeper and deeper water, all while Jeeves is away on vacation. In that case, all the stars align perfectly.

Bertie finds he is unable to resist Aunt Dahlia's command that he keep her goddaughter from an unwise match. Although this involves falling off chairs, encountering his reviled old headmaster, falling in lakes, and encountering his erstwhile girlfriend, he gamely applies all the Wooster intellect to the proposition. If you're at all familiar with the Wooster intellect, you'll be happy to know that he eventually interrupts poor Jeeves's shrimping trip so that greater minds can prevail and save the day. It's an unchanging tale, but Wodehouse constantly managed to retell it with sharp dialogue and an unflagging commitment to the absurd, which makes those long Jeeves and Wooster phases so gorgeous whenever they come along.

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