Box-office busting show One Man, Two Govnors is on the road. I caught a Saturday afternoon performance when it parked up at Glasgow’s King’s Theatre earlier this month.
Adapted by Richard Bean from Carlo Goldoni’s eighteenth century play The Servant of Two Masters, the National Theatre’s original production starred James Corden and made its London debut in 2011 to both critical and popular acclaim. Following runs in the West End and on Broadway, One Man, Two Govnors has been packing seats on tour ever since.
Set in 1960s Brighton, One Man, Two Govnors is a fast-paced comedy in which mistaken identity and audience participation each play key parts. Within the space of a few hours, down on his luck musician Francis Henshall finds himself working for two different (but connected) bosses. All he has to do is keep each boss from finding out about the other. Simple, no? Of course not. As is the way of these things, complete and utter chaos ensues…
One cast member has quipped that the current production should be renamed “One Man, Two Govnors and Three EastEnders” as a nod to the presence of Barry (Shaun Williamson), Honey (Emma Barton) and Alice (Jasmyn Banks) from the BBC’s popular soap. And very good they are too. However, without doubt, the star of the show is Gavin Spokes as Francis. Although the shadow of Corden is clearly lurking in the wings, Spokes is more than up to the task of engaging with the audience and bringing them on-side with his character’s shenanigans. Nipping at his heels though is Michael Dylan as doddery waiter Alfie (shades of Manuel from Fawlty Towers) and Patrick Warner as posh boy Stanley Stubbers. Without giving too much away, the scene where lunch is served is a tour de force of comic timing.
As an added bonus, One Man, Two Govnors features an excellent house band. Four-piece skiffle combo The Craze entertain the audience before curtain up – much to the confusion of the late-comer sat next to me who thought she was at the wrong show – and during the various scene changes dictated by the action on stage.
If you’re a fan of classic British farce or physical comedy, then One Man, Two Govnors is definitely the show for you. See it nationwide until March 2015.