Hilarious, full of innuendos and the perfect way to end the semester – NNT’s production of Richard Bean’s One Man, Two Guvnors is a comedic triumph. A modern-day adaptation of Carlo Goldini’s Servant of Two Masters, the play is a comedy in the style of Commedia dell’arte, or simply put, slapstick comedy. Directed by George Waring and Kate O’Gorman, One Man, Two Guvnors is the perfect way to spend a cold winter’s evening and welcome in the festive season.
One Man, Two Guvnors opens at the engagement party of ditsy gangster’s daughter Pauline and her aspiring thespian fiancé, Alan. Played by Michaela Green and Chris Sharp-Paul, their chemistry and comedic timing with each other is spot on and utterly endearing. As the party continues we meet Pauline’s gangster father Charlie and Alan’s lawyer father, Harry. We soon learn that Pauline was originally set to marry a member of a rival gang called Rosco Crabb and the engagement party was originally organised for those two. However, Rosco has been murdered and Pauline is now in love with Alan.
“The play falls into full throttle comedy”
All is going well until in walks Francis Henshall, a clumsy and loud food obsessed minder who announces that his Guvnor, Rosco Crabb, is actually alive and has arrived for his engagement party to Pauline. From the moment of Francis’ arrival, the play falls into full throttle comedy and we see just how Francis hilariously tries to balance being one man with two Guvnors.
James Curling plays Francis and is superb at handling Richard Bean’s hilarious dialogue paired with some of the best physical slapstick inspired comedy I have seen in theatre. His character performance not only involves endless gags on stage but he also gets the audience involved as he struggles to handle having two guvnors to simultaneously look after. There is an absolutely hilarious end to the first act that involves an audience member and, without wanting to spoil any of the surprises, note that you may need a rain coat sitting in the first few rows…
As the audience entered the theatre we were immediately transported to Brighton, 1963. Dressed in costumes inspired by The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band album cover, a band sits on the famous Brighton pier and play 60s music as we all gather in our seats. The stage is set with 60s shabby chic wallpaper and furniture that effortlessly set the scene for this period piece. A special mention here must go to producer Beth Mullen, her design of the set and its seamless transition from scene to scene was faultless and no doubt a huge task in itself to get right.
“Just know that Ted’s performance is a comedic masterclass”
Ted Marriott gives a standout performance as Francis’ other guvnor, Stanley Stubbers. Stanley is in love with Rosco Crabb’s twin sister Rachel and is hoping to meet her in Brighton so they can marry. The relationship between Stanley and Rachel is a key aspect to the play’s plot and to discuss it in any more depth would reveal too much about the play before you see it. Just know that Ted’s performance is a comedic masterclass, he tackles the dialogue with ease and his scene stealing performance had the whole audience in huddles of laughter.
Through George Waring and Kate O’Gorman’s direction, the whole cast delivered an outstanding performance that featured running gags, innuendo galore and panto style entertainment for adults. The play is the perfect way to end the semester and is a genuine triumph that deserves to be enjoyed by as many people as possible. It runs from December 12th – 15th with a matinee performance at 2:30pm on Friday. Tickets are £4 and can be purchased at the theatre.
Images courtesy of Nottingham New Theatre