The play by Richard Bean is an updated homage to the Italian commedia classic The Servant of Two Masters written by Carlo Goldoni in the 1740s. That play focuses on a harlequin who gets into comical situations while working for two bosses. One Man, Two Guvnors, updates the locale to Brighton in the 1960's with the harlequin now a simple British man, Francis Henshall, who finds himself working for two bosses - one is a criminal in hiding, the other a local gangster who just recently killed a man. Henshall, believing he has hit the jackpot by having two jobs at the same time, relishes in his new found wealth but with his constant cravings for food and women he unfortunately can't keep the two jobs straight while he also continually attempts to keep his two bosses from meeting each other. Hilarity ensues, along with about 10 original songs sung by a Beatles inspired band that are used as scene change filler as well as a preshow and intermission novelty.
|Suzie Toase, Oliver Chris, James Corden and Jemima Rooper|
|Oliver Chris and Tom Edden|
|James Corden and Jemima Rooper|
But Corden is the star here and he is a comic genius, expertly interacting with the various oddball characters on stage, providing plenty of funny bits with his many interactions with the audience and perfectly and easily gets the humor in the many gags he takes part in. He also comes across as a very lovable harlequin which provides some heart to the whole affair. Corden will clearly be a Tony nominee come May as Best Actor in a Play.
Mark Thompson created the sets and costumes and he has created some simple yet effective pieces, including a lovely Brighton backdrop and an excellent set of stairs that descent down into the stage. Director Nichols Hytner keeps the lunacy going and has crafted, along with Bean, some very inspired moments.
One Man, Two Guvnors is definitely the funniest show on Broadway right now and it officially opens tonight.
Official Show Site
Highlights from the show: