Since premiering at the National Theatre in May 2011, Richard Bean’s comedy One Man, Two Guvnors has taken the world by storm.
Being a farce, the play is as complicated as you would expect. After being fired, a poor and hungry Francis Henshall can’t resist taking on two jobs. However, keeping two Guvnors happy and preventing them from finding out about the other is no easy task. There is more to the comedy than people just running in and out of doors. One Man, Two Guvnors features the perfect mixture of both physical and verbal comedy and paces itself well.
Owain Arthur, who previously understudied James Cordon and most recently starred in the show’s international tour, has returned to the West End production as Francis Henshall. He is, without doubt, the funniest Francis I have seen and simply hits the nail on the head with his portrayal. Owain brings a slight campness to the part which works a treat and he performs with the perfect amount of confidence, without ever appearing cocky. He bounces well off his fellow cast members as well as the audience, leading the show with his enormous stage presence and charm.
Stand out performances also come from Angela Griffin as Dolly, whose Act Two tantrum had me in hysterics, Kellie Shirley who brings something completely different to Pauline Clench, a very dumb blonde, as well Dominic Thorburn who is almost too good at portraying Alan Dangle, a stereotypical actor.
What I love about One Man, Two Guvnors is its wide appeal. Most shows have a more specific target audience, but looking around the theatre during the interval there seemed to be an equal amount of audience members from all different age ranges, and most importantly everybody seemed to be having a great evening. The show is beautifully put together, with a band playing prior to the performance, during the interval as well as in-between scenes, which breaks up the show nicely.
One Man, Two Guvnors is for anybody who wants to have a silly, light-hearted evening without a care in the world. Many have said the show is so funny that it should be prescribed on the NHS. It was recently announced that One Man, Two Guvnors will conclude its highly successful West End run in March 2014, so make sure you catch one of the best farces ever written in London while you still can!
Reviewed on Tuesday 1st March 2013
One Man, Two Guvnors runs at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until 1st March 2014.