Brilliant fun: One Man, Two Guvnors
It’s Brighton in 1963. Fired from a skiffle band, tubby Welshman Francis Henshall becomes minder to local gangster Roscoe Crabbe.
But Roscoe is really Rachel, posing as her own dead twin brother – who’s been killed by her beloved boyfriend, snooty toff Stanley Stubbers. Unaware of the con, Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket when he is offered a job with Stanley. To prevent discovery, he must keep his two guvnors apart who have no idea they are both in Brighton at the same time.
The plot unfolds with Francis increasingly struggling to keep his employers away from each other while he runs their errands and serves them lunch. Throw in an ageing hard-man trying to come up with the cash for a business deal, a wanna-be thespian and an octogenarian waiter trying to serve up soup and you get an idea of the genuinely hilarious characters and mix-ups that follow thick and fast.
Richard Bean’s rewriting of Carlo Goldoni’s classic comedia dell’ arte The Servant of Two Masters (1746) makes a highly entertaining play, full of witty one-liners, excellent physical comedy and enjoyable musical interludes.
Martin Barrass’s waiter and Owain Arthur’s Henshall in particular deliver the quintessentially British concoction of physical jokes and one-liners that make One Man, Two Guvnors the best laugh-out farce you can see in London right now.