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One Man, Two Guvnors

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This British comedy comes to the US from London, where it won an award for Best Play for 2011. It received rave reviews in London and is now at the Music Box Theater, where I saw it performed last week. It is an adaptation of an old Italian play, Servant of Two Masters.


James Corden, the London star, also plays the lead role here. How you relate to his humor will determine how well you like this play. The audience at the night I attended was in stitches with laughter. The play involves lots of pratfalls, slapstick, and down right silly humor. Some here saw it in the movie theater when the London show was broadcast live and also found it to be quite funny. The premise is simple. Corden, as Francis Henshall, serves two masters, and the trick for him is to keep one from knowing about the other. At one point Corden, dressed in a suit, is laying on the floor, thrashing his arms and legs much as an infant would do during a tantrum. If you find that funny, then this play is for you.


It was not for me, although I did enjoy the character who played the 86 year old waiter- on his first day on the job. His performance had me laughing pretty hard. But one problem is that I don't take well to a British accent, and by that I mean I cannot understand what they are saying. Any British show I see takes a while for me to understand the accent. The main audience had no trouble with this. They laughed when I had no idea what the character had even said. Then, as my understanding improved, I still had to deal with the silliness of the comedy, and that was not so easy, the waiter excepted. I like dry humor, but in your face silliness seems to be daring me not to laugh, and I am usually up to the challenge.


But again I want to emphasize that the audience was going nuts with laughter. So, let them decide if you should see it! And, if you enjoy it as much as they did, why then the joke is on me!

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  • 2 weeks later...

It doesn't seem as if this show has any fans here. It opened last night, with the Times loving it, and Terry Teachout agreeing more with my take on it. He must be trying to suck up to me!

I tried to watch Billy Elliott on TV the other day, and the accents were very hard to get used to. Is it age? I don't remember having this much trouble when I was younger.

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I absolutely adored it, and thought it was one of the funniest nights I have spent in the theatre in a long time> The accents in Billy Elliot are completely different, being set in Newcastle, which is a Geordie accent, thick and difficult to understand even for the English-One man 2 Guvnors is set in Brighton, and the only one I would have thought the audience may have had slight trouble with is the father at the beginning.

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...the only one I would have thought the audience may have had slight trouble with is the father at the beginning."


And now you know better! :)

I am glad that you liked the show.

As I mentioned, the audience with me was in stitches.

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Interesting that the live simulcast will be competing with the live show in May. At least for a day.

And, I would rather pay $24 than about a hundred to see it!


[h=3]One Man, Two Guvnors[/h] Part of National Theatre Live


Sun, May 20, 2012 at 11am (Encore)


By Richard Bean

Based on The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni with songs by Grant Olding

Directed by Nicholas Hytner


“One of the funniest productions in the National Theatre’s history” —The Guardian


One Man, Two Guvnors is Richard Bean’s “howlingly funny” (The Independent, UK) reworking of the commedia dell’arte classic The Servant of Two Masters, directed by Nicholas Hytner. Fired from his band, Francis (James Corden) finds work as a bodyguard for small-time East End hood Roscoe. But Roscoe is really Roscoe’s sister Rachel posing as her own dead brother, who’s been killed by her boyfriend Stanley. To complicate matters, Francis takes a second job with—guess who?—Stanley, who is in hiding and waiting to be re-united with Rachel. Comedic mayhem ensues as Francis tries to keep his two guvnors apart.


BAM Rose Cinemas

2hrs 40min with intermission

$24 ($22 for BAM members)

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