I honestly can’t remember the last evening where I laughed as much as I did at Infinity’s production of One Man Two Guvnors. I saw the show on the West End several years ago so was a little sceptical of if a student budget and theatre group could tackle such a task; however, I was pleased that through putting their own spin on things they created a splendid evening’s entertainment.
For those who don’t know the story I will try my best to explain it in a few sentences. Francis accidentally gets hired by two masters and gets incredibly confused at which task he has to perform for each of them. Meanwhile, two lovers are separated by an antagonist…who turns out to in fact be a very polite girl disguised as her deceased twin brother. Francis creates lots of messy situations through brilliant moments of slapstick and classic theatrical misunderstandings, but everything ends very nicely with a big group song and dance number.
Directed by James Harrington and Will Poyser, the piece oozed energy and enthusiasm from everyone involved. The set was pretty hashed together but still successfully portrayed a quirky seaside vibe which was accompanied by the catchy 60s inspired soundtrack from the original production. The scene changes were a little haphazard with the use of stage hands coming on to change to the accompanying music; my only criticism of the production was that I’d have liked to see them in costume, changing the set unapologetically as I believe this would have added beautifully to the eccentricity of the piece.
The true enjoyment from the production came from the cast – they were utterly brilliant, tackling farcical characters with true panache. I could easily heap genuine praise on each of the actors however with such a big cast I can unfortunately only highlight a few. Euan Codrington played the lead character Francis; his sense of comic timing and cheeky relationship with the audience was an absolute pleasure to watch. Despite the role being made famous by James Cordon in the West End run, Codrington put his own spin on the part and I was thoroughly impressed with the exuberance and spontaneity with which he played Francis; he should be incredibly proud of himself. Lucas Rushton and Hannah Dunlop were a hilarious comedy double act Alan and Pauline, respectively playing an over the top aspiring thespian and his ditsy and very confused fiancée. Tom Inman was fantastic, playing snobbish ex-boarder Stanley Stubbers with uncanny upper-class nuances. A special mention must go to Charlotte Boyer too, planted in the audience to be soaked with a bucket of water each night; she was completely natural in portraying a nervous spectator.
The liveliness made the comedy a true delight to watch; I was watching on the final night of the show’s run where there were several people coming back to see the show yet again. I for one would not have hesitated to re-watch it; one of the best things I have seen this year at the Guild, watching One Man, Two Guvnors, was just a brilliant evening of fun.