No, not the Chuck Berry song, the play by George Bernard Shaw. Claire and I went to see it years ago. It was probably at the Theatre Royal in Bath, but could have been London. Edward Fox was playing the waiter, William. He was brilliant, of course. What Shaw does with such genius is invert status. Let’s have a look at a snippet:

Dolly: Is your son a waiter too, William?

Waiter: (serving Gloria with fowl) Oh no, miss: he’s too impetuous. He’s at the bar.

M’Comas: (patronisingly) A potman eh?

Waiter: (with a touch of melancholy, as if recalling a disappointment softened by time) No, sir: the other bar – your profession, sir. A QC, sir.

M’Comas (embarrassed) I’m sure I beg your pardon.

Waiter: Not at all, sir. Very natural mistake, I’m sure, sir. I’ve often wished he was a potman, sir. Would have been off my hands ever so much sooner, sir. (Aside to VALENTINE, who is again in difficulties) Salt at you elbow, sir. (Resuming) Yes, sir: had to support him until he was thirty-seven, sir. But doing well now, sir: very satisfactory indeed, sir. Nothing less than fifty guineas, sir.

M’Comas is a rather pompous solicitor. William, the lowly waiter, takes complete control of proceedings, whilst punctuating his conversation with sir. It’s an inversion of status which the audience found very satisfying. 

Jeeves and Wooster represent another satisfying reversal of status, I suppose. It’s a master servant relationship in which the servant is the mastermind. I’d like to employ the technique in my writing, but haven’t quite found the opportunity yet. Perhaps when Anthony is going through spy school is the closest I have yet come. His instructors may be a secretary, a criminal and an old soldier, but they are the masters and he is the pupil.