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one man, two guvnors @ the new theatre

[usr 3]

This play is an adaptation of a famous 1743 comedy by the Italian playwright, Carlo Goldini, “The Servant of Two Masters”. When such a play is transposed into the 1960s , in Brighton, England, and tributes to “Fawlty Towers” and the “Carry On” films are thrown in, with intermittent audience participation, a three [sometimes four] piece band playing during scene changes,a dash of vaudeville, complicated plot lines, and a Frankenstein -like character who also opens and closes the stage curtain added to the mix, as well as gifted ad- libbing, generous helpings of farce, prat-falls and pure slapstick, the result is-a real mess!

However, during such mayhem there are moments, indeed many moments, of sheer rib-aching hilarity, inspired acting and impeccable timing by the cast, all of whom put their hearts [and bodies] into their roles. Such moments included an inspired play on words in one scene, nice touches of political satire, an exquisite and hugely gratifying long scene involving the serving of several courses of a lunch, and the placing of a cast member in the audience with truly comic results.

Of course there were faults. The play is too long, the English accents were hard to comprehend at times, lines were often spoken too quickly [ to keep pace with the action], musical interludes were irritating, although necessary to cover set changes, and the beginning of the play was slow and difficult to absorb.

In all, a play is best assessed by the reaction of those who see it. Judging by the audience’s bursts of laughter, their frequency and volume, the New Theatre’s production of ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS is well worth seeing.

ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS is playing the New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown until the 15th April, 2023.
Production photography by Clare Hawley

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