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Review: One Man, Two Guvnors

Copyright: National Theatre

Exhilarating and exhausting, One Man, Two Guvnors, is an experience no-one should miss out on. Leaving the theatre yesterday evening, I couldn’t wait to get out of the building to get some air. For I have not laughed so much at a theatrical production in a very long time. From the moment the curtain came up on a lavish, 1960s set, the gags were rolling, and you were on the edge of your seat wondering what would tickle you next.

After the closing of Act One, I turned to my friend and said how glad I was that I was unaware of the play’s story. I think it is vital for viewers to not know the ins and outs of this play; a little bit of naivety never goes amiss in theatre. So without giving too much away, the story follows unemployed Francis Henshall, who suddenly comes across not one, but two ‘guvnors’ who employ him on the spot. But not is all it seems for luck Francis. Gavin Spokes in the role of Henshall is magnificent; charming, yet mad, you can’t take your eyes off him for one second for fear you might miss out on the excellent comedy he naturally exhumes.

The entire cast are on the whole, utterly brilliant. It is almost impossible to fault the physical comedy of this piece, and Michael Dylan in the role of old Alfie is particularly mesmerising (if a little uncomforting at times). They shine both as an ensemble, and as individuals, a great challenge in a farcical piece like this.

It is difficult to write about this play without giving too much away. There are plenty of surprises throughout, and even though Act Two is not as strong as the first act, it is because of the content, not the actors. If you’re looking to take a break from the real world and laugh like crazy for a few hours, then I would highly recommend going to see One Man, Two Guvnors.