24-28 February 2015
Reviewed by Helen Jiggins
This is one of those shows that make me a little uncomfortable as a reviewer, mainly because it became apparent very quickly that I was certainly not the target audience. In this way, reviewing it meant I had to look about me and appreciate what the rest of the audience seemed to be getting out of it and I have to confess, many seemed to be genuinely laughing out loud and enjoyed this show from beginning to end.
This show certainly puts the slap into slapstick! It is where saucy-postcard humour meets improv-based comedy. The pace alone is frantic and kept up for the whole two and half hours, dispersed with a ‘50s skiffle boy band called The Craze who played disarmingly familiar tunes by Grant Olding. This version of an old play (based on The Servant of Two Masters which was written in 1746 by Carlo Goldoni) is based in Brighton in the 1950s.
The lead is played by Gavin Spokes as the Man who finds himself with the Two Guvnors, the consequences of which are the basis for the ensuing hilarity, misunderstandings, chaos etc., etc., This is probably an exemplary example of the great British farce, including a crossdressing character, hidden identities and weddings at the end. It has to be said there were some fine individual performances – Emma Barton as Dolly shone in her role and David Verrey and Edward Hancock, as father and son Dangle had moments of comic genius.
If it appears that I am struggling a little with this highly acclaimed National Theatre production “smash-hit”, then you are probably correct, but if it is your thing, you will have a wonderful evening out and see a play that is full of surprises and some very clever one-liners, interspersed with songs, gags and innuendo. There is even the odd “elderly waiter who has a hard time” sketch or two, surely it can’t get better than that, can it?
Tickets cost from £11.90 to £37.90 (plus £4 transaction fee).
One Man, Two Guvnors is at the New Theatre in Oxford until 28 February 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3020.
New Theatre Oxford, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2AG | 0844 871 3020