A popular feature of every Sydney Theatre Company main season program is a page devoted to listing different experiences that are along the same lines as the experience the show is about to give you….
This is the list compiled for one of their current shows, ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS:- Listen to Buddy Holly…The Quarrymen (John Lennon’s skiffle band that was precusor to the Beatles), Read Graham Greene’s BRIGHTON ROCK, Watch Benny Hill… Are you being served?…Carry On Films…Your back! , Embrace confusion… cross-dressing…overtime, Wear three piece tweed suits…floral dresses…beehive hair-dos…your brother’s suit, Visit Brighton Pier in the 1960’s…
The choices all fit in with Richard Bean’s very colourful adaptation of Carlo Goldini’s classic 18th century farce A SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS the setting has been changed to the seaside resort of Brighton, England and the time is the hip, everything goes 1960’s. There’s a skiffle-like band that plays through the show during set changes….and the show has a rich vein of British knockabout physical comedy….
Essentially, what this National Theatre of Great Britain production does deliver is a very well produced and funny, feel good night at the theatre with a storyline that is easy to catch on to and follow.
The protagonist, the rather peculiar Francis Henshall, isn’t content just to serve one master, Roscoe/Rachel Crabbe. Henshall decides that he can keep two masters happy, hence he takes on the role of serving snooty, Stanley Stubbers. As Bob Dylan sang, ‘you’ve gotta serve somebody’, however serving two masters, and making sure that neither knows of the other’s presence, is very hard work and soon sees Henshall stretched well beyond his limits.
The show’s main attraction is the high comedy that arises from seeing Henshall face more and more difficult situations, and become increasingly flumoxed. You need a really good funny man to pull it off. Owain Arthur may not be Rowan Atkinson but God he is wonderful and has the audience in stitches for most of the show.
Arthur is not alone in entertaining the audience. Other stand-outs in a large, accomplished cast included Rosie Wyatt as Rachel Crabbe, Edward Bennett as Stanley Stubbers and the supremely funny Mark Jackson as Alfie.
The National Theatre of Great Britain production of ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS by Richard Bean, adapted from Carlo Goldini’s classic 18th century farce and directed by Nicholas Hytner, opened at the Sydney Theatre, 22 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay on Tuesday 2nd April and runs until Saturday 11th May, 2013.
(c) David Kary
7th April, 2013
Tags: Sydney Stage Reviews- ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS, National Theatre of Great Britain, Owain Arthur, Sydney Arts Guide, David Kary