One Man, Two Guvnors … yah, yah, yah

MUSIC OWL AWARDS5th – direction; 3rd – to go to with friends

When I went: 14 January 2012

Music Owl Hoot rating: 4/5

Location: Adelphi Theatre, London

Performers: James Corden (Francis), Jemima Rooper (Roscoe / Rachel), Oliver Chris (Stanley Stubbers)

Creative team: Richard Bean (playwright), Carlo Goldoni (original Italian playwright), Nicholas Hytner (director)

Approximate price: £55

Special points: Humour

Best bit: Stanley Stubbers (“yah, yah, yah”)

If I could change one thing: More consistent throughout


The play:

One Man, Two Guvnors is a reworking of an ancient Italian comedy with slow-burning humour, farcical moments and occasional musical treats. The cast isn’t huge so it relies on strong performances from the leads.

Personally, I think the whole play is great but there are definitely peaks and troughs; sometimes the story is a little uneven when it is not at a farcical high point.

This performance:

James Corden threw himself into the part of Francis to the point where you missed him if he went offstage. It was great to see Jemima Rooper in the role of Roscoe / Rachel as I used to like her character in the TV show As If, and she is just as good onstage. However, both of them were sometimes upstaged by the wonderful Oliver Chris as Stanley Stubbers, whose speeches roused raucous laughter from the audience.

Nicholas Hytner’s direction brought out all the high points of the play nicely, justifying his Tony Award nomination. The Adelphi’s large stage suited the physical nature of the play and the audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy every part of it.

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