Little Theatre Company

Live theatre in the heart of Burton upon Trent

One Man Two Guvnors

by Richard Bean

Performed: June 2018

One Man Two Guvnors by Richard Bean

Review by Caroline Kay – Burton Mail

Little Theatre Company's One Man Two Guvnors is comedy genius

A few years back One Man Two Guvnors took the West End and Broadway by storm yet I have to hold my hands up to knowing very little about the play.

I am well aware that Richard Bean's adaptation of the Italian comedy play Servant of Two Master helped James Corden 'break America' but apart from that, not a lot more.

What a treat I have been missing out on and thanks to Burton's own Little Theatre Company performing the comedy in the town I am no longer in the dark about the antics of the man with two guvnors - Francis Henshall.

The play is, for me, the perfect recipe to get my chuckle muscles working overtime.

Take a huge dollop of French farce, along with a smattering of silent comedy slapstick, sprinkle with a stellar cast and what do you have? A mouth-watering dish served up right on the doorstep.

I applaud Bean's reworking of the classic and combined with John Bowness' meticulous direction and Katie Haywood's hilarious choreography the play has everything you need for a hilarious night out.

However, it is Rob Tunley who is simply brilliant as the confused and bemused leading man Henshall.

He plays the role magnificently with impeccable comedy timing. In fact I don't think the role could have been better cast if the search had been on nationwide.

The scene where Henshall is wrestling with his conscience is so funny tears were rolling down my cheeks.

The play is set in Brighton, in 1963. Francis Henshall becomes employed by two men –  Roscoe Crabbe, a gangster, and upper class twit, Stanley Stubbers.

Henshall tries to keep the two from meeting in order to avoid each of them finding out that Henshall is also working for someone else.

Complicating events, Roscoe Crabbe is really his twin sister Rachel Crabbe in disguise. Roscoe has been killed by her boyfriend, who is none other than Stanley Stubbers.

And as if this wasn't confusing enough, enter stage right - or is it left? - is mobster Charlie the Duck, who has arranged his daughter Pauline's engagement to Roscoe despite her preference for over-the-top amateur actor Alan Dangle.

Even further complications are prompted by several letters, two very heavy trunks, several unlucky audience volunteers, an extremely elderly waiter and Henshall's pursuit of his twin passions: food and Dolly.

The rest of the cast is simply sublime. Jim Haywood, as always, is outstanding and gives a sparkling performance as 87-year-old waiter Alfie.

Jim is a shining light on the Burton stage and his talent knows no bounds - especially when it comes to comedy tumbling. He does it with great finesse and I see a future for this young lad.

Heather Gallagher who plays the two roles of Roscoe and Rachel Crabbe is first-class, as is Mark Pearson as the love of Rachel's life Stanley Stubbers.

Throw in Peter Clemson as Charlie 'The Duck' Clench, Olivia Robinson as Charlie's daughter Pauline, Tim Robinson as the hilarious 'would-be actor' Alan and the man who wants to marry Pauline (although she is betrothed to the late Roscoe Crabbe), Phil Robinson as Alan's dad Harry Dangle, the ever-entertaining Vicky Fryer as dolly-bird Dolly, Adrian Bancroft as Lloyd, owner of the 'pub which does food' and learned everything he knows from 'Parkhurst' and Peter Banton as head waiter Gareth - and you have one seriously impressive cast.

One Man Two Guvnors is fast and furious with quick-witted dialogue more twists and turns than you can shake a stick at.

Hilarious from start to finish this has to be the must-see comedy of the year - if not the decade!


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