Richard Bean’s repurposing of the commedia dell’arte play by Carlo Goldoni is a superb piece of comedy theatre. It premiered at the National Theatre in 2011 before transferring to the West End and to Broadway, scooping up numerous awards en route.
Eastbourne Theatres’ revival makes for great summer fun. After 15 minutes of pre-show skiffle music, the show opens and the laughs begin. As the playing space at the Devonshire Park Theatre is fairly confined, the orchestra pit now forms part of Julie Godfrey’s set, a faithful representation of 1960s Brighton with pastel coloured townhouses, a quaint pub and even the famous pier.
The skiffle band, formed from members of the company of 11 multi-talented actor/musicians, perform at intervals throughout the production.
Aiden O’Neill plays Francis Henshall, the role originated by James Corden. His efforts to service both of his “guvnors”, gangster Roscoe and toff Stanley, played by Ruth Westley and Dylan Turner, lead to some spectacularly funny scenes. His dealings with the other characters are as hilarious, but it’s his conversations with the audience that really make an impression – no prisoners are taken when there is a laugh to be had.
Director Chris Jordan is renowned for his meticulous attention to detail and One Man, Two Guvnors is no exception in this regard,