One Man Two Guvnors (Tour- Plymouth Theatre Royal)

One Man Two Guvnors provides old school, knockabout farce at Plymouth Theatre Royal.

There’s not much sophistication about the National Theatre’s touring One Man Two Guvnors but the timing is slick, the characters larger than life and slapstick abounds.

Emma Barton (Dolly) and Gavin Spokes (Francis Henshall) in One Man Two Guvnors
Emma Barton (Dolly) and Gavin Spokes (Francis Henshall) in One Man Two Guvnors
© Johan Persson

Richard Bean‘s adaption of the 18th century comedy by Carlo Goldini is great fun and new face Gavin Spokes superbly drives the comedy as 1960s skiffle band drop-out (and advisor to John Lennon), the check-suited Francis Henshaw.

There are plenty of doors and confusion galore as hungry Henshaw takes on two jobs in a bid to double his wages, get himself fed, and whisk the pneumatic Dolly (Eastenders‘ Honey, Emma Barton) off to Majorca.

As minder to bad boy and reportedly recently murdered Roscoe (cross-dressing Alicia Davies), Henshaw is on a mission to keep shtum about his new guv – Hooray Henry-type Stanley (Patrick Warner) who is lurking in Brighton ready to flee to the land of barbeques and opera to avoid a murder rap.

The Duck (an under-used Shaun Williamson (Eastenders, Extras)) has a gangland debt to pay and his nice-but-dim daughter (Jasmyn Banks) must break off her engagement with lovelorn luvvie Alan (wonderfully overplayed by Edward Hancock), son of the ultimate loophole lawyer, the Latin-spouting Harry Dangle (David Verrey).

There’s disguise, confusion and violence in great profusion and Cal McCrystal’s physical comedy direction is spot-on with Spokes’s shenanigans with the trunk and solo fisticuffs of particular note.

Corpsing, ‘ad libbing’ and assistance plucked from the front row keeps the audience delighted – even on the second time round – and who will forget the Cricketer’s Arms seven course lunch waitering not so ably assisted by desperately doddery octogenarian waiter Alfie (Michael Dylan) and Christine?

And to keep us entertained before curtain up and during scene changes is the excellent The Craze – Philip Murray Warson, Oliver Seymour-Marsh, Richie Hart and Billy Stookes with guest appearances from the cast – plinking the steel drums, squeezing the horns, chest-slapping and more.