Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Barmy in Wonderland

Barmy in WonderlandBarmy in Wonderland by P.G. Wodehouse

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In order to win the woman of his dreams, Cyril "Barmy" Fotheringay-Phipps invests ten thousand dollars into a stinker of a play to be close to her. Will he ever see any of his money back and win his woman's heart?

That P.G. Wodehouse is a sly one. Just as he managed to make golf interesting in The Clicking of Cutherbet, he managed to make me care about theater with Barmy in Wonderland.

Barmy in Wonderland features a few of the usual Wodehouse plot devices. You get the budding love between Barmy and Eileen "Dinty" Moore, the broken engagement between Mervyn Potter and his love, and hilarious drunken escapades featuring Potter and Phipps.

It's amazing how many interesting characters Wodehouse creates and then never uses again. To the best of my knowledge, Barmy, a member of the fabled Drones Club, is the only one who appears in other stories. It's a shame, too. Dinty Moore is strong female lead, like many of Wodehouse's women. Mervyn Potter, that hilarious drunken bastard, could have easily spawned stories on his own. I even enjoyed the two sleazy play producers, Lehman and McClure.

Oh, and I should mention my favorite line before I wrap this up: "She was so tight she could carry an armload of eels up five flights of stairs and not drop a single one."

As usual, everything works out in the end, as it normally does in Wodehouseland. The joy is in the journey, not the destination. While this one isn't my favorite Wodehouse, or even close, it's still hilarious and an easy three.

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