“You went to the theatre and you LAUGHED?”
For those people who think the theatre is all men in tights and musty old plays about murder then there’s a show in town (Stoke-on-Trent specifically) to rid you of your preconceptions and it comes in the form of One Man, Two Guvnors.
If you were told the basic story outline of One Man, Two Guvnors you’d be forgiven for thinking it would be anything far from a comedic masterpiece. A minder who winds up working for two guvnors, one of which is laying low after committing murder (Patrick Warner as Stanley Stubbers) and the other who is pretending to be her recently murdered twin brother (Alicia Davies as Rachel Crabbe) doesn’t sound like a quick witted and laugh a minute play and that is perhaps the beauty of it.
One Man, Two Guvnors is a play by Richard Bean and is an adaptation of an Italian comedy play “Il servitore di due padroni” (translated: Servant of Two Masters) which has been around since 1743. The Bean adaptation replaces Italy with the UK seaside resort Brighton, circa 1963.
The play first found its legs in 2011 at the National Theatre before going on to a UK tour, it then opened in the West End in London at the end of the year with James Corden and Rufus Hound both taking the lead role as Francis Henshall. Now into its third UK tour, the show that critics have previously called “the funniest play on the planet” is in the safe hands of Shaun Williamson Scott (“Barry from Eastenders” as Charlie ‘the duck’ Clench), Emma Barton (“Honey from Eastenders” as Dolly) and Gavin Spokes who plays Francis AKA “the man who will make you laugh your red wine through your nose”…… this actually happened to me.
The evening I saw the show Owen Guerin was filling the shoes of Gavin Spokes and I’ll be god damned if that is what “filling the shoes” looks like. Guerin is hilarious as Francis. His monolgues about his gnawing hunger pains and confusion over serving two guvnors had the audience eating out of his hands.
With your stereotypical airheaded blonde, a melodramatic wannabe actor and a doddery old waiter with a pacemaker making up the remainder of the cast and catchy musical interludes provided by skiffle band The Craze (meninsuitswithglassesandmusicalinstrumentsohmy), One Man Two Guvnors should be prescribed by the NHS to brighten even the gloomiest of days. If you have a weak bladder be sure to go prepared, I had to change my Tena Lady during the interval* and by the end I had abs like Beyonce.
One Man, Two Guvnors will be at the Regent Theatre in Stoke as part of its UK Tour until Saturday 30th August. Tickets are available online or at the theatres box office.
*I’m joking. Or am I?