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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Wodehouse Playhouse, Series 1
Format: DVD|Change
Price:$21.98+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on November 18, 2003
I had no idea who PGW was when I stumbled on these shows, which ran as a summer replacement for some other comedy in the US in 1975. One of them was the funniest thing I've ever seen on TV, and I laughed hysterically. After the summer season, the other show returned. I searched in vain for years to find these classics again, having no idea what they were. Just this year I was rewarded, with their appearance on DVD. In the nearly quarter century between that first show and this DVD, I had luckily stumbled onto (and devoured) PGW's books. I'd also had the great good fortune to watch Jeeves and Wooster, all four seasons having recently found their way onto DVD. Volume One of Wodehouse Playhouse includes seven shows drawn from the Mr. Mulliner stories, with John Alderton playing the various Mulliner relations and Pauline Collins playing everyone else. These are very much stark, stripped down Britcoms: part Vaudeville, part comic play, part slapstick craziness, lively, witty dialogue, with the dynamic duo changing hats and playing all the roles--not unlike the cast of Monty Python or Kids in the Hall. Most of the earlier film adaptations of his stories PGW felt missed the mark; these he introduces and gives his seal of approval in what must be his last TV appearances. Avid readers, of course, have their own ideas of what these characters would look like and how they would act. It helps to suspend that critical faculty and just enjoy these shows for what they are: one of many possible takes on some of the comic Master's best bits. An interesting inclusion is a brief history of the Mulliner, Golf and Drones Club stories from which Wodehouse Playhouse was drawn, by Tony Ring, president of the International Wodehouse Association. All in all, Wodehouse Playhouse is a must have for any devoted reader of the Master or lover of Britcoms.
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on April 23, 2004
I bought this DVD because of all the Jeeves and Wooster stories I have watched, read, and listened to over the last 18 years. These stories are as superbly written and acted as I expected they would be. P.G. Wodehouse had a way with words that is unsurpassed in the literary field of humor and the stories on these DVD's highlight Wodehouse's ability to entertain with words. The two lead actors are wonderful in their portrayal of Wodehouse's characters and the humor is priceless. Having seen both John Alderton and Pauline Collins on stage live and in this series, they are actors who can play a variety of roles effectively and with passion. I strongly recommend this DVD set to all fans of P.G. Wodehouse's style and humor.
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on January 20, 2003
After a commercial breakthrough with SHIRLEY VALENTINE, this wonderful actress has all but disappeared (a memoir, one or two small roles in films). She is one of the three funniest women on the planet (to go with Maggie Smith and Penelope Keith) and this great series is a perfect introduction to her talents.
Best line: "I stand by manure!" "Yes, we've noticed. . . "
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on February 14, 2012
Having read the books and enjoyed them immensely, my husband and myself are very happy to be able to see them on screen and be able to entertain our friends.It is a wellcome diversion to follow something so funny, to be able to laugh, as nowadays there is not very much laughter in the air. The two main actors are excellent, specially "Jeeves"
As I said is pure enjoyment!
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on June 15, 2015
Wonderful series. Very good and fast service.
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on February 9, 2015
a must for fans of wodehouse
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on January 10, 2003
I saw these on TV waaay back in the 80's and have been waiting for someone to release them on DVD or video ever since then. They are delightfully daffy--and who better than Pauline Collins and John Alden to bring them to life. Love the British? Love a good chuckle? Buy it!
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on September 7, 2009
Wodehouse playhouse , is very funny and very well acted, our whole family have thorouly, enjoyed the different characters,JOHN ALDERTON andPAULINE COLLINS play so well ,if you need a good laugh then WODEHOUSE PLAYHOUSE is for you, anna farmer
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on June 2, 2003
Breathless with anticipation after reading little but good reviews of these DVDs, we watched the first episode, the 25 minute THE TRUTH ABOUT GEORGE yesterday evening. This story was first published in England in the STRAND magazine in 1926, then in book form (by Herbert Jenkins & Co) in the first collection of Mulliner stories in 1927. It concerns George Mulliner, nephew of the narrator, and his beloved Susan. George and Susan both love crosswords, as well as each other, but being beset by stammering, George is prevented from expressing his devotion (he succeeds in the end). This particular story is one of the weakest in the entire Mulliner canon, but it's still pretty amusing in print. In the BBC version, it's feeble, even though the plot was adhered to fairly rigorously. Stammering as an affliction can be humorous on the written page, in moderation, in the hands of a master such as Wodehouse. I am not squeamish, and am able to watch a Tarantino movie without batting an eye, but the portrayal of the stutterer by Alderton was inexpressibly cruel, and made me squirm. It was like watching a child pull the wings off a fly. There were a few funny moments - this was Wodehouse, after all - but that was it. The chase scene, where George tried to elude his pursuers through the countryside, was painfully dull, since Alderton, a comic actor of some talent (I even remember him in his TV role as the indecisive schoolmaster in PLEASE, SIR, from the late 1960s) is no Jacques Tati, and physical humor is not one of his assets. I am not in principle against adaptation of Wodehouse for TV; the Fry / Laurie series of Jeeves and Wooster, for example, was excellent in every respect. Maybe it is simply very difficult to transfer Wodehouse's brand of humor and literary style to the screen - certainly an over-the-top adaptation of a Blandings story transmitted not long ago, with Peter O'Toole as an appalling Lord Emsworth, suggests that is the case. Anyway, THE TRUTH ABOUT GEORGE was a very long 25 minutes, and gives little cause for optimism with respect to the succeeding episodes.
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on June 27, 2003
These episodes are superbly produced, directed, costumed, and especially acted. The stars are a married pair of fine British comic thespians, who were also outstanding in their seriocomic roles in "Upstairs, Downstairs." Supporting casts are uniformly superb.
I found Wodehouse's intros priceless. Even as a nonagenarian, he was worth almost the price of the whole set -- so droll, so amused with appreciation of human folly, so skilled at a twinkly-eyed but not unduly harsh presentation of foibles. Every word he said was both easy (for me) to understand and well worth hearing. How marvelous to have this personal record of a great humorist! I only wish we had seen more of him. What I wouldn't give to see Oscar Wilde or Jane Austen or several others similarly introduce performances of their works!
This set is also a great bargain. Perhaps the sound and picture are not up to today's standards, but they did not distract from my enjoyment in the least. The "Jeeves and Wooster" set is indeed better Wodehouse than this set, only because J&W is perfect while this one is merely close to perfect, but both are worth at least five stars to this picky reviewer. Anyone who does not like Wodehouse and his marvelously framed understated absurdities deserves to spend eternity watching Hollywood potboilers and US sitcoms.
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