Theatre review: One Man, Two Guvnors

I’ve just had the chance to see One Man, Two Guvnors at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, so thought you might like a little review.

It’s the first few days with the new cast, after James Corden et al took their version off to Broadway. Much has been made of understudy Owain Arthur taking on the lead role of Francis Henshall, and he puts in an excellent performance so I’m not surprised at all that he’s received such great reviews.

Set in a slightly seedy 1960s Brighton, Henshall is an ever-hungry, quirky, out-of-work musician who takes on two different  jobs to make ends meet. Unfortunately for him these jobs clash, and neither of his guvnors is quite what they seem, so many awkward situations ensue. If you think this plot sounds vaguely familiar, it’s loosely based on Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni, but it survives being transplanted to 60s Britain very well indeed.

This is because it’s a rollicking good farce, which we did very well in the sixties. There’s also heaps of period atmosphere, from The Craze, the slickly-rehearsed skiffle band who pop up right from the beginning and keep you entertained during all the scene changes, to the decor of the rooms and all the costumes.

The use of the band makes it rather like a musical for people who don’t necessarily like musicals. There’s also a bit of audience participation from time to time, which keeps you laughing. The Beau ended up being dragged on stage at one point, which was really good fun (he secretly loved it) but I won’t tell you too much else about that as it might spoil the surprise…

The cast turn in big comic performances, including Ben Mansfield, Jodie Prenger, and Hannah Spearritt. Yes, her out of S Club 7, playing a big ol’ bimbo and looking lovely in a big fancy frock. It’s like a big tongue in cheek variety show in places, but that adds to the charm. In short, it’s a funny, silly night out and just the ticket if you fancy a laugh. If you’re looking for a cheaper ticket, try for dates earlier in the week, matinees, or seats in the upper circle.

Many thanks to the lovely people at AKA who made this review possible.

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  1. OMG i saw this last night and it was absolutely fantastic!! Soooooo funny. Best night out I’ve had in ages. I’d wanted to see it when it was James Corden but the new guy is just brilliant!!!

  2. I so desperately wanted to see this before James Cordon head off to the bright lights of Broadway, so it’s great to hear that his understudy doesn’t disappoint.

    I’ll definitely be going soon. Charlie will flippin’ love the audience participation!

  3. Hi Jackie – glad you liked it too!

    Hiya Harri – it’s still worth a go, definitely.

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