ONE MAN TWO GUVNORS: Richard Bean, based on Carlo Goldoni
Songs by Grant Olding
NT on Tour, till 14 March 2015
Runs: 2h 30m, one interval
Tkts and Info: www.onemantwoguvnors.com
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, Birmingham Hippodrome, 28 05 14
A real treat
This production has been arising phoenix like from the crepe suzette of each predecessor since it’s original production in May 2011. Here it is again on another tour – hale, healthy and humorous. It’s hilarious and a great treat.
Goldoni’s classic is updated to the 1960s in Richard Bean’s acutely observed version. Goldoni’s soul lives in the production in Bean’s freshened up irreverancies, knock-about, and bad jokes (as well as good ones). This completely daft – and all the better for it – story is really the packaging to a fantastic centre piece in which the starving servant, Henshall (Gavin Spokes) has to serve a meal to his two masters, without them knowing of the existence of the other.
In the days of Commedia, the audience waited for their favourite character’s episodes of physical comedy and delighted in the recognition. Today we don’t know to wait for them but our thrill is just as great as our sides feel as if they are splitting. Gavin Spokes is in his naughtiest element – sometimes letting us in on the jokes, sometimes surprising us with them. Superb and skilled timing from the whole team support the action; a special word must go to Michael Dylan as the octogenarian waiter Alfie in a terrific physical clowning performance. Physical Comedy director is Cal McCrystal.
The company’s joy is infectious – a true ensemble. Particularly watchable are Alicia Davies as the swaggering cross-dressed Rachel Crabbe and Patrick Warner as the ex-public school Stanley Stubbers. But they all have their moments.
The play works in its own right. But there’s an additional pleasure in seeing it look bgack to its origins and forward to English pantomime and universal slap-stick. Adam Penford directs the tour (Nicholas Hytner the original), the touch is sure and the invention gob-smacking. Here’s a bit of Italian sunshine in our theatres.
Dolly: EMMA BARTON
Lloyd Boateng: DEREK ELROY
Charlie ‘the Duck’ Clench: SHAUN WILLIAMSON
(May-Sept & Feb-Mar)
NORMAN PACE (Oct-Jan)
Pauline Clench: JASMYN BANKS
Harry Dangle: DAVID VERREY
Alan Dangle: EDWARD HANCOCK
Francis Henshall: GAVIN SPOKES
Rachel Crabbe: ALICIA DAVIES
Stanley Stubbers: PATRICK WARNER
Gareth: ELLIOT HARPER
Alfie: MICHAEL DYLAN
PHILIP MURRAY WARSON
Tour Director and Choreographer: ADAM PENFORD
Original Director: NICHOLAS HYTNER
Physical Comedy Director: CAL McCRYSTAL
Designer: MARK THOMPSON
Lighting Designer: MARK HENDERSON
Music and Songs: GRANT OLDING
Sound Designer: PAUL ARDITTI
Fight Director: KATE WATERS