Monday, 27 January 2014

'One Man, Two Guvnors' Theatre Royal, Haymarket ****

With only a month to go before it closes, and for all those who haven't yet been able to witness 'One Man, Two Guvnors’, Richard Beans contemporary adaptation of the commedia dell'arte piece ‘The Servant of Two Masters ‘ is one that is guaranteed to make you laugh hysterically at. The play is now set in the 1963 Brighton criminal underworld and most certainly is a comical and intellectual scenario that oozes humour and charisma throughout.  ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ is the National Theatre's second consecutive West End transfer and this casts suggests that the play has had a pretty successful run. The company is led by the productions original understudy Owain Arthur as the bumbling fool, Francis Henshall ,who stupidly becomes involved in an awkward situation where he's been hired by two people as a kind of servant. Unbeknown to Francis these two people know each other very well, in actual fact they are romantically involved. For me, Arthur is exceptional throughout the entire performance in particular the movements that he conveys with such hilarity that makes me think that detailing has been dramaturgically been thought of with such integrity. I must admit his Welsh accent seems to add even more comedy gold to his outstanding betrayal of the immensely hungry employee. Angela Griffin is amazing as Henshall’s love interest Dolly, Dominic Thornburn provides a humorous performance as the pretentious actor Alan Dangle, Amy Cuddle presents us with an interesting take as the slightly troubled Rachel Crabbe and Kellie Shirley is wonderful as the immensely stupid Pauline Clench. Overall the entire company are exceptional and if you don't see them then you are slightly idiotic as it is an entertaining production with brilliant comic timing. The director of this energetically rib-tickling production is the National Theatre's Director, Nicholas Hytner. He has directed this entirely fast paced show which has incredible comical impetus. However Cal McCrystal's physical comedy direction is this shows main spectacle where all moments leave you crying with laughter, especially the scene involving a doddery old waiter who continually falls down stairs during the course of his duties due to the his pacemaker becoming slightly accelerating out of control. I found the design by Mark Thompson to be one of a good enough standard of panache. On the other hand, the thought behind it seemed quite lacksidasical  as it felt too pantomime like for ones gratitude. Unfortunately the design element has let this show down somewhat. Apart from this I found ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ to be a good show and well done for the shows duration in London's West End.

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