WhatsOnStage Logo

One Man, Two Guvnors (Tour - Salford)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
WhatsOnStage logo
Richard Bean's hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors is completely unstoppable. It started life at the National Theatre and is currently on Broadway with original star James Corden, it's also on in the West End and now on tour - expectations are therefore high on the night I attended.

With five star reviews, and such a great reputation - news that Celebrity Juice star Rufus Hound was taking the lead role might have filled you with trepidation. No need to worry, as Hound is a revelation - as Francis Henshall - rising to the comedic challenges put before him with ease and dexterity.

Featuring a live band playing on stage, the minute you arrive - the fun never stops from here on and the frenetic pace of the play leaves you gasping for air and laughing like a hyena throughout. Set in 1960's Brighton - we follow Francis Henshall as he attempts to juggle two jobs, two lives, two meals and two different personalities.

Cue revolving doors, pratfalls, food throwing, somersaults and throw in a lust-fest featuring Jodie Prenger (reveling in her role as Dolly the buxom book keeper) and you have the ingredients for a ferociously funny farce. I just wish someone would give this talented comedy actress a lead role, as she always brings more than is on the page - both here and in Spamalot, previously. 

{Peter Caulfield]'s old waiter Alfie is Fawlty Towers' Manuel on Cod Liver Oil and the gifted actor is an utter delight to watch, as his comic timing is spot on. As is Edward Bennett who delivers Bean's dynamic dialogue like a bullet - hitting the target constantly.

The play may be based on Carlo Goldoni’s 1746 comedy The Servant of Two Masters but there's nothing dated going on here due to Richard Bean's smart update which keeps the original's sense of fun and pace but makes it relevant to a contemporary audience. Every part is a gift for each of the talented actors.

Nicholas Hytner directs the piece beautifully, as not a single moment is wasted. Of course, the whole thing is as bonkers as a Naked Gun movie but as pure escapism - it works and will give you something to smile about for days. As for Rufus Hound - as proven by his recent turn in the film The Wedding Video - he can convey humour and poignancy in equal measure. His rapport with the audience is a delight to see and I loved his off the cuff ad-libs. 

One Man, Two Guvnors is comedy perfection and as a result it's unmissable.

Tagged in this Story