One man, two Guvnors
Orchard Theatre, Dartford, August 4
As we entered the auditorium of The ORCHARD THEATRE, DARTFORD for the opening night of ‘ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS’, we were surprised to find we were midway through a Skiffle session: new songs, authentically played and delivered in true ‘Lonnie’ style, intended to set the mood for an evening which nobody could have expected what was to follow.
This adaptation of an Italian farce tells the story of a bumbling, buffoon, Francis, played hilariously by GAVIN STOKES who goes from being unemployed to having two jobs in a short space of time. Every component of farce is here, identical twins, secrecy, opening and closing door routines, confusion, geriatric waiters, slapstick, audience participation, ad libs, satire and great one liners.
To detail the story any further would either lead to confusion, or give too much away. The sub-plots help to provide two hours of complete madness and mayhem that left the audience in hysterics at the interval. The group had now become a beat group for the intermission entertainment, also making brief appearances between scene changes, along with novelty turns.
Proving there is life beyond ‘Eastenders’, Shaun Williamson, Emma Barton, and Jasmyn Banks relish their comedy challenge, but this is 100% a National Theatre Company production, where every one of the 21 cast members give their all.
A huge worldwide hit, it is one of the funniest plays I’ve ever seen. As Francis kept telling us: ‘Stop laughing, this isn’t a panto, it’s a National Theatre production.” He wasn’t fooling anybody.