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One Man, Two Guvnors (Edinburgh)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Rave reviews, a sell out season at The National, West End transfer and a possible Broadway outing. So does One Man, Two Guvnors live up to the hype? The updated version of the Carlo Goldoni play, written by Richard Bean is enormously entertaining and beautifully played by a terrifically talented cast.

The action has been moved to 60's Brighton complete with an onstage skiffle band, The Craze. Like many farces, it does occasionally lose momentum though you are glad of the rest to catch your breath from the belly laughing. I believe the version which will open at the Adelphi is being slightly rewritten and reworked.

As the hapless retainer, James Cordon is rather brilliant and enjoys an enormous rapport with the audience. However, this in no one man show. There are equally delicious star turns from the stiff upper lipped Oliver Chris, who has the some of the best lines,Daniel Rigby as the hammy wannabe actor,Suzie Toase as teetering but wise, Dolly.

Tom Edden, as the geriatric and deaf waiter, steals his scenes. (I hear that in the reworked version, he will be putting in a few more appearances). In slightly less showy parts, but just as adeptly acted, are Jemima Rooper, Martyn Ellis, David Benson,Fred Ridgway and Claire Lams, as the rather dim Pauline Clench.

Director, Nick Hytner expertly orchestrates the action, with great attention to detail. So, does it live up to the hype? For most of the packed King's audience, including me, it did. Certainly it is one of the most side spittingly funny evenings in many a year.


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