One Man Two Guvnors, Newcastle Theatre Royal, Nov 2012


Earlier this year, James Corden won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Francis Henshall in ‘One Man Two Guvnors’ on Broadway in New York. That was following a successful stint at the National Theatre and a run in the West End. Replacing Corden on this UK tour, Russell Hound (yeah, the guy off ‘Celebrity Juice’, cue dog noises) had rather large shoes to fill.

Until Corden took this role on last year, I’d never heard of ‘One Man’ but there’s been so much written about it since; I jumped at the chance to see the play at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Set in the 1960s, ‘One Man Two Guvnors’ is a story of murder, revenge, double crosses and love in Brighton. It’s a combination of slapstick, stand-up, cabaret and, most surprisingly of all, audience participation. I still actually can’t quite comprehend how it all happened to be honest. It’s plain to see why it’s been such a hit – the cast are so talented and committed it is unreal. They don’t just have to act, they contribute to the musical numbers, they interact with the audience and have to think on their feet. Very impressive indeed.

Francis Henshall (played by Hound) has been sacked by his skiffle band so he takes a job minding Roscoe Crabbe, a renowned gangster. However, “Roscoe” is actually Rachel – posing as her dead brother to escape the police. Rachel’s boyfriend has murdered her brother and is also on the run – so Henshall takes a job minding him too but must keep the two bosses away from each other. Of course, this descends into a farce of preposterous proportions.   The comic timing of the cast is impeccable and the slapstick element was very well done. I laughed throughout the play and found myself chuckling on the way home, too.   Rufus Hound was really great in this role however it sometimes seemed like he was impersonating James Corden and I have to admit I found myself imagining how Corden would have done it.   In the future, I’d love to see Stacey Solomon in the role of ditzy Pauline Clench – she’d be perfect for it.

‘One Man Two Guvnors’ is full throttle. It grabs you by the collar and refuses to let you go.

Tue 6 Nov – Sat 10 Nov


By Vic on November 19, 2012

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