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J & W Play Is Perfect Nonsense

Jeeves and Wooster are to make their West End theatre debut, with Matthew Macfadyen and Stephen Mangan taking the lead roles.

Macfadyen will play Jeeves opposite Mangan as Wooster in Perfect Nonense. It will be the first appearance of J & W on the West End stage as a play.

Macfadyen, best known for his roles in Spooks and Pride and Prejudice, will play "unflappable" butler Jeeves, while Mangan takes the role of a "charmingly incompetent" Bertie Wooster.

It is the first time members of the Wodehouse family have given their blessing to a play adaptation, with director Sean Foley disclosing they are delighted with the results so far. "We've always planned to stay utterly true to the spirit of the book. If there’s more than three sentences changed from Wodehouse's own words, I'd be surprised."

Foley added that his two stars had "amazing rapport and chemistry", with a "comic rhythm that is pretty much peerless".

Mangan, who admitted he had not read any Wodehouse before he was sent the script, said he now hoped to bring the inimitable stories to a younger generation.

"I'm really hugely excited. Matthew and I are old friends, so hopefully we can bring some chemistry."

Written by Robert and David Goodale, the play – adapted from The Code of the Woosters – will be staged at the Duke of York's Theatre in October.

Auberon Waugh called PG Wodehouse, pictured, 'the most influential novelist of our age' and a master of 'the Great English Joke' Photo: ALAMY