One Man Two Guvnors by Richard Bean: National Theatre at Home: YouTube: until 9th April 2020: 5*****. Review Mark Courtice

One Man Two Guvnors

by Richard Bean,

based on ‘The Servant of Two Masters’ by Carlo Goldoni, with songs by Grant Olding.


National Theatre at Home, to 7pm on Thursday 9 April but you’ll need to start watching no later than 4pm UK time on 9 April to ensure you see it all.




Viewing platform:


Running time: 2 hours 40 minutes, including one interval


Review Mark Courtice


An international phenomenon since it opened at the National Theatre in 2011 this lovely show is now in your own front room. It’s the first of four productions the National Theatre is streaming; each running for a week.

When I saw this play in the theatre I very nearly fell off my seat with laughing. Nearly 20 years later from one’s sofa it’s just as delightful, hilarious, skilful and dangerous to one’s equilibrium as it ever was. From the warm, committed, and energetic performances to the pin-sharp direction this continually inventive adaptation just delights. The writing is genuinely funny, continuously and confidently throwing ideas new ideas and old gags together, while getting cheerfully more complicated.   The wit is leavened by tried and tested physical routines; director Hytner and his associate McCrystal know them all and use them to create breathless fun. There’s clever music as Grant Olding’s witty ear creates a neat pastiche of 50`s pop.

The performances are all exhilaratingly good, and it seems invidious to pick out Corden’s charmingly batty Henshall, Oliver Chris’s block of an ex-public school bully, or Daniel Rigby as the hopeless actor, Alan Dangle. Everyone works so hard so it’s no surprise that the company all take their part in the musical interludes during the scene changes. Even the audience are pressed into service and although at home the power of 1200 people all laughing at once is somewhat distanced you still feel part of a special event; and watching, as the first night audience did, with some 200,000 plus people is very exciting.

The National’s response to the emergency is wholehearted and generous, and this lovely, funny, superbly competent production is the perfect tonic. It’s only on for a week, its joy will last for longer – catch it if you can.



Dolly                                                  Suzie Toase

Lloyd Boateng                                 Trevor Laird

Charlie “the Duck” Clench            Fred Ridgeway

Pauline Clench                                 Claire Lams

Harry Dangle                                   Martyn Ellis

Alan Dangle                                     Daniel Rigby

Francis Henshall                              James Corden

Rachel Crabbe                                 Jemima Rooper

Stanley Stubbers                             Oliver Chris

Gareth                                               David Benson

Alfie                                                   Tom Edden

Ensemble                                          Polly Conway

Ensemble                                          Jolyon Dixon

Ensemble                                          Derek Elroy

Ensemble                                          David Hunter

Ensemble                                          Paul Lancaster

Ensemble                                          Gareth Mason

Ensemble                                          ClaireThomson


The Craze

Drums                                               Benjamin Brooker

Bass                                                   Richard Coughlan

Guitar                                                Philip James

Guitar                                                Grant Olding


Creative Team

Director                                            Nicholas Hytner

Associate Director                          Cal McCrystal

Designer                                           Mark Thompson

Lighting Designer                            Mark Henderson

Music                                                Grant Olding

Sound Designer                               Paul Arditti

Fight Director                                  Kate Waters

Choreographer                               Adam Penford


Broadcast Team

Director for Screen                        Robin Lough

Technical Producer                        Christopher C.Bretnall

Lighting Director                             Bernie Davis

Sound Supervisor                            Conrad Fletcher

Script Supervisor                             Laura Vine

ReviewsGate Copyright Protection