THE play is called Perfect Nonsense which Patrick Warner, one of the stars of the production heading to Bolton’s Octagon Theatre, admits is an apt description.

“It’s utterly ridiculous,” he said, “but that’s why it works so well. We’ve had such an extraordinary reaction to it; audiences have been loving it.”

The Bolton News: The cast of Jeeves and Wooster (Picture: Marc Brenner)

Adapted from the novels of P G Wodehouse, Partick plays Jeeves, the long-suffering manservant to Luke Barton’s upper class twit Bertie Wooster. It’s a frenetic romp which sees Patrick playing several different characters along the way.

“Wodehouse wrote to entertain and his work is inherently satirical,” said Patrick. “I’d not seen the play or really read any Wodehouse before I got the part but as soon as I read the script I realised that although set in the 1930s, it’s really quite modern and there’s an inherent silliness which modern audiences love.

“He’s lampooning this imaginary upper class and arguably it’s a portrait of an England that never quite existed but it’s such fun. There is a good naturedness to the humour, it’s not cruel.”

The Bolton News: Luke Barton and Patrick Warner in Jeeves and Wooster (Picture: Mar Brenner)

As Jeeves, Patrick has to portray the unflappable servant, able to cope with whatever ridiculous scrape Wooster gets into.

“On the face of it Jeeves is imperturbable which is not too interesting to play,” said Patrick. “But he’s also always got a scheme on the back burner and he’s always trying to get one over on Wooster.

“He’s got all these imaginary back stories and characters which appear during the show. It’s a chance to let a bit of glee in; to show this stranger side of Jeeves that he’s trying to keep a lid on.”

For Patrick, the multiple characters mean plenty of quick changes.

“Thank goodness for our great backstage team,” he said. “There are more poppers than you have ever seen. Sometimes you’ll run off stage and just look at the crew bewildered going ‘who am I?’ They’ll have everything ready and you’re back on stage as a totally different character.”

Patrick is no stranger to farce. He was in The Play That Goes Wrong in the West End and also Peter Pan Goes Wrong.

“Before I went to drama school when I was letting my ego swell at university thinking I was a big deal it was all about Shakespeare and Ibsen,” he said. “Then I emerged from drama school and found myself doing comedy. I think the industry can be quite snooty about comedy and there is a sense that you should really do serious theatre.

“But to me, if you are not making comedy you’re not getting people into the theatre. You have got to make sure going to theatre is fun and I love to have a good time with an audience.

“I remember when I was in The Play that Goes Wrong I’d quite regularly be stopped at stage door by people who’d say they had never really gone to the theatre before as they thought it was pompous or wasn’t for them but they had had loads of fun at the show and were going to go come back.

“I think having a good time is easy to sneer at but it is actually so important.”

Jeeves and Wooster is heading to the Octagon after a run at the Salisbury Playhouse and it will be Patrick’s first time in Bolton.

“I’ve heard great things about working in Bolton,” he said. “I hear that Bolton audiences are up for it. I’ve been told be prepared to learn there is no such thing as a rhetorical question in Bolton, you’ll always get an answer.”

The stage will be configured with the audience on three sides.

The Bolton News: Luke Barton and Patrick Warner in Jeeves and Wooster (Picture: Mar Brenner)

“That will be a good challenge,” said Patrick. “Having the audience all round you is much more intimate. But live comedy is such a pleasure to perform when the audience is there with you.”

With a show as fast paced as Jeeves and Wooster, the cast of three have to be very aware of the audience reactions.

“The worst thing you can to do is that something might get a laugh one night and you’ll try and recreate it the next night which is impossible. Then you’ll start chasing after a gag which never works,” he said.

“There is an art to riding the laughs in a show., You never want the audience to feel like they were wrong to laugh. There’s no quicker way to have a sadder night than to accidentally suggest that an audience should be quiet.”

Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, Bolton Octagon Theatre, Wednesday, October 4 to Saturday, October 21. Details from