Monthly Archives: August 2014

Review – One Man, Two Guvnors

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The National Theatre’s award-winning comedy One Man, Two Guvnors is back and it’s British humour on top form!

The play written by Richard Bean is based on Carlo Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters and set in 1960s Brighton a place full of gangsters and con men.

We follow Francis Henshall (Gavin Spokes) as he hungrily works for two ‘guvnors’ after being fired. The first governor being criminal Roscoe Crabbe, who is actually his ‘non identical’ twin sister Rachel Crabbe (Alicia Davies) in disguise as Roscoe; and the second governor being her lover Stanley Stubbers (Patrick Warner).

Neither Stanley nor Rachel know that Francis is working for the other and neither do they know that that they are all in Brighton. Francis tries to keep both governors happy, whilst trying to remember his role to each governor as his workload spirals out of control.

The play is uniquely brilliant. I was concerned that following the footsteps of James Corden, Gavin Spokes had some large shoes to fill, but fill those he did. His participation with the audience was second to none, with a non-stop roller-coaster of laugh out loud moments. His continuous energy paid off and he certainly wins you over in Act 1.

To me, the play resembles an hilarious episode of Faulty Towers. I absolutely loved Michael Dylan with his performance as Alfie. Alfie’s inability to work with his exaggerated shakes adds an hilarious impact to the play. It was like watching a scene with Basil Fawlty (John Cleese) and Manuel (Andrew Sachs) which has always been a favourite of mine.

The whole cast shines and are truly in tune with each other. The posh Stanley Stubbers (Patrick Warner) makes for some of the funniest moments, even some of the expressions on his face were enough without words!

If you’re looking for an intellectual piece of theatre this probably isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for a high energy, non stop hilarious piece of entertainment to leave you hungry for more, then don’t miss your chance to see One Man, Two Govnors while we are lucky enough to have it at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre.

A word of warning, make sure you get there 10 minutes early to be greeted by The Craze, a four-piece band as you enter the auditorium.

 

Review – April in Paris

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Even though April in Paris was written back in 1992 for the Hull Festival, on a chilly Tuesday evening being whisked away to Paris will never get old.

This beautifully staged play, written and directed by John Godber ticks all the right boxes. Al (Joe McGann) and Bet (Shobna Gulati) are a northern couple, whose 28 year marriage has gone stale. They live in a small world, he’s unemployed and has resorted to painting drab industrial scenes and although she dreams of a better life, she wouldn’t even notice what’s going on in the world unless it was happening in her celebrity magazines.

When Bet wins a romantic night in the city of love, we are taken on a journey of culture, croissants and champagne to the bright lights of Paris which offers them escapism from their lives. Unfortunately they don’t escape the bickering within their marriage, which is actually where a lot of the hilarious one liners and humour comes from, you might question how they ever got together in the first place with their love hate relationship.

The stage is simple as it transforms in Act 1 from their northern home with effective clouds floating across the stage, to the ferry where Bet lets her hair down at the disco, before throwing up overboard, it’s such a cringe worthy scene you can’t help but cover your mouth whilst making noises along with the rest of the audience. The opening of Act 2 transforms the set to that of a postcard with the attractions of Paris, bright lights and music giving the atmosphere you would imagine.

Joe McGann and Shobna Gulati play the role of husband and wife so well that I was asked if they were actually married in real life. Al’s portrayal of the Brit abroad is brilliant, yet watching his character grow, especially when we see the excitement within his eyes as he gazes at the real Mona Lisa gives him more depth. Bet is a little harder to like because she plays a forever critical wife, always complaining and never satisfied. It touches your heart when you feel the relief of the romantic spark is rekindled between them. On returning home they know they couldn’t live without each other.

You might laugh and joke at their relationship, to the point that it actually feels like a couple we all know; but the play reaches out touching the audience because deep down we all want to fall in love again even if it’s with the same person.

April in Paris is a charming play even though it might feel a little dated at times. If you’re a romantic with a little imagination it will leave you with a smile on your face and a warmth in your heart as you go home to appreciate what you have on your doorstep.

As they say, “We’ll always have Paris”.

The play runs at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre until Saturday.