Review One Man, Two Guvnors, Black RAT Productions by Helen Joy

A slapsticky ribtickling romp through Mr Bean’s homage to the Italian original.

I love this theatre company. They make me laugh. Properly head back gasping for breath laugh. This multi talented bunch of actors and their production team are properly good.

I love the venue. I love the welcome. The busyness of the place. The swirly carpets and the polished wood and the atmosphere of years of local folk heading here for a night out. Marvellous.

And marvellous to take a glass of wine into the theatre and settle into your seat whilst the cast play their way through a series of ‘60s songs, washboard ‘n’ all. A band which reforms for set changes – how delightful, how clever to keep us all singing and clapping along.

Never afraid to look you in the eye, to include you in the action, to keep you alive with the threat of putting you too on the stage, it’s bright and buzzing throughout.

And the lead, Francis Henshall, is, quite frankly, fabulous! A tweedy oaf with a lust for food and a hunger for love, he draws us in, right in.

But he wouldn’t be half so good without his sidekicks.

Every character is perfectly overblown and overplayed. Exaggerated, exaggerating, they are funny and likeable and strangely believable. All very special in their own sweet Brighton rock kinda way.

Every seat is filled. Everyone is laughing. Everyone is having a very good time.

There is an energy to this production which drives through to the end.

Nothing unpredictable, nothing too challenging but what a wonderful slapsticking backslapping suitcase swapping utterly joyous night out!

Black Rat Productions is an extraordinarily talented company. There to be enjoyed.

 One Man, Two Guvnors is a play by Richard Bean, an English adaptation of Servant of Two Masters (Italian: Il servitore di due padroni), a 1743 Commedia dell’arte style comedy play by the Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni.

 Helen Joy for Get the Chance, 3rd Act Critics.

A Black RAT Productions, Blackwood Miners’ Institute and RCT Theatres co-production supported by Arts Council Wales

Cast

Gareth John Bale … FRANCIS HENSHALL
Lee Gilbert … HARRY DANGLE
Phylip Harries … CHARLIE CLENCH
Sarah-Jayne Hopkins … DOLLY
James Lawrence … STANLEY STUBBERS
Daniel Miles … ALAN DANGLE
Caryl Morgan … RACHEL CRABBE
Alice Strachan … PAULINE CLENCH
Chris Tummings … LLOYD BOATENG

Production Team

By Richard Bean
Based on The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni
With songs by Grant Olding
Directed by Richard Tunley
Designed by Anna Marie Hainsworth
Production Manager / Lighting Design Robin Bainbridge
Stage Manager Claire Roberts
Musical Director Rob Thorne

 

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