Review Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival ‘One Man Two Guvnors’ by Georgia Bevan

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

The Cardiff Open Air Theatre festival’s next show, ‘One Man Two Guvnors’, has arrived, and it’s obvious from the opening night that this comedy is going to be another great hit.

The play follows Francis Henshall (Matthew Preece), a man with, well, two ‘guvnors’. The simple idea of a man working two jobs leads to both expected and unexpected shenanigans. The original West End show starred James Corden, and the character has some obvious Corden-isms that can be a little draining at times, but Preece does very well to elevate himself from some of the constraints of that character. Some of the show’s funniest moments came from his improvised banter with the audience. With that, and elements of heavy audience participation, which ends up being very comedically well-implemented, every performance of this show entirely unique.

The rest of the cast with an eclectic bunch, with all sorts of different hilarious personalities. There’s Dolly (Jess Courtney), who brings some great humour with her feminist attitude, and Alan (Tom Price), a Hamlet-lite character who is deeply entertaining. The standouts are the two ‘guvnors’, Roscoe (Rachel Crabbe), who is not who they appear to be, and the borderline-murderous Stanley (Joshua Ogle), who are hilarious apart and especially together. The latter engages in some of show’s best physical comedy- which the whole show has in well-executed droves- and has some absolutely priceless exclamations that really stand out in my mind. I do hope that he says “oopsie-diddly-die-doe” every night.

On a technical level, the staging has a level of unexpected depth, folding out to create different rooms. Every part of the stage is milked for all the comedy it’s worth, the top being used for musical performances, the area behind the on-stage doors to make imaginary rooms, and even the railing along the top of the stage for Stanley to throw himself off of later. There are also a great deal of set-dressings and props, and in order to make time for the scene changes to have their details carefully placed, the show patches in song and dance numbers during the transitions. Their variance keeps things fresh, so there’s never a dull moment.

As a result, ‘One Man Two Guvnors’ is a hilarious time, especially with the older viewers, the audience around me was practically rolling in their seats. Everyman Theatre’s take on the hit West End hit was a home run with the audience here at the Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival, and another real crowd-pleaser.

‘One Man Two Guvnors’ is at the Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival, July 5th – July 13th.

1 thoughts on “Review Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival ‘One Man Two Guvnors’ by Georgia Bevan”

  1. What about the poor lady from the audience that got sprayed and had water poured over her…was it a set up

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