18 November 2011

One Man, Two Guvnors at the Adelphi

When I first heard about One Man, Two Guvnors I was rather dismissive seeing it as simply a comedy vehicle for James Corden (who I am not a fan of) and so I refused all the offers thrown my way to see it at the National Theatre.

But the excellent reviews kept pouring in to my Twitter stream and so when the chance for cheap tickets at the Adelphi came through I finally acquiesced.

And everybody was right; it is really very funny.

Missing it at the National was a mistake because that is a much better theatre than the Aledphi where the cheap seats in the Upper Circle have scant room for any superfluous extras, like legs.

Getting everybody in and out of their seats was such a palava that I even missed the usual half-time ice cream to save the bother of getting out of my seat.

The show is a riot because it teases humour out of every facet of the play.

The story is a true farce, one where identities are mistaken, doors are opened and closed regularly and nobody has control of the situation.

The dialogue is excellent. There is a stream of one-liners (e.g. "love goes through marriage like shit through a dog"), several catch-phrases (e.g. "In Parkhurst") and some staged word play that the Two Ronnies would have been proud of (e.g. the alliteration around diagnosed with diarrhoea but died of a damaged diaphragm in Didcot).

There's some slapstick too, such as the accidental waiter who gets repeatedly banged on the head and who also falls down the stairs a lot. And he's 87 years old. The slapstickiest moment comes courtesy of a member of the audience but I won't spoil that one for you.

The large cast of characters each plays their comic part.

To pick just a few of them; there's the young man who wants to be an actor and who hams it up continuously, his dim girlfriend who does not understand anything that is going on, the ex-public school boy who goes beyond any other exaggeration of the stereotype, and there's more ...

It goes without saying that these roles are funny not just because of the characters, all the actors are excellent in their roles.

Amongst the panoply of talent James Corden is still very much the front man. In some ways his is the simplest characters and he is witness to most of the story rather than part of it (his main motive most of the time is simply to get food) but that gives him the freedom to be the comedian and to play with the audience.

James Corden is very good and very funny but the rest of the cast are excellent too and the dialogue is the real star of the show.

1 comment:

  1. It is always interesting to see what people on telly do outside the box. I am no fan of Corden either, but it is always good to be put right about somebody's credibility and skills. So many actors and comedians only know how to play themselves, and it is sometimes a revelation to come across them doing the unexpected, and doing that well. But I still find Ricky Gervais too full of himself. He does not seem to show any empathy for others. Ricky is just Ricky, not an actor. I would love to be wrong!


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