One Man, Two Guv’nors

The first few minutes of this farce presented by National Theatre Live did not appeal to me at all, but eventually I started laugh in spite of myself. The lead character, whose name I have unfortunatley forgotten, is a master at physical comedy. He almost lost it when an audience member actually had a sandwich he was willingnto give to him, but that just made it even funnier.

By the end of the show I was laughing almost non stop. Great performances by all. Interesting musical interludes between scenes. Another great success for NTL.


About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
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One Response to One Man, Two Guv’nors

  1. keithhpotter says:

    This is a music hall take on “Servant of Two Masters” which, as the main character tells us in this version, was a Commedia dell’arte style play (by Carlo Goldoni). It was originally broadcast by NTL in 2011, but it has taken until now for us to finally see it.

    The original allowed for lots of improvisation, and so does this version – with the audience being invited to either take part in the action, or at least interact with our main character Francis, (Truffaldino in the original). In fact, despite the music hall style, the skiffle musical interludes and Richard Bean’s translation from Italian to English, the correspondence to the original is remarkably close – and still hilarious over 270 years later!

    While the cast is all good (none of whom I remember seeing before – not the “Usual Suspects” of English theatre/film/TV), the play is really driven by James Corden as Francis Hensall, the man/servant driven first by hunger and then love/lust to serve two masters.

    The centrepiece of the show is the physical comedy of a scene where Francis tries to serve dinner to both Gov’nors, without either knowing about the other and while finally getting to eat a meal himself.

    What can I say? Laugh-out-loud funny; very English, but based on an Italian play and with humour that works across various languages and cultures. See it if you can.

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