Last week I saw One Man, Two Guvnors in Northampton with my school. It’s a brilliant comedy show; I’ve only seen a few – I tend to stick to more serious pieces – but I really enjoyed it!
Having read the commedia script from which is it derived (A Servant to Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni) and performed my own piece of commedia dell’arte with a modern interpretation, I felt well prepared in terms of the background of the piece. (Commedia is a 16th Century Italian drama practice, if you’re interested.) I’ve also read the script for the play itself, which had me in fits of giggles. I thought that because I knew all the jokes and aspects about the production it would be ruined for me. Actually, I still found it hilarious! The slapstick moments were brilliantly timed. (Slapstick is originated from commedia; they used to tie two pieces of wood together which made a slapping sound when hit, hence ‘slapstick’… anyway…) Although the acting wasn’t the best I’ve ever seen, it’s a comedy, so it’s not necessary for it to be naturalistic. However, there were some certain aspects that were very well acted, but I won’t reveal which or it would spoil everything for everyone, even if you have seen it!
I quite liked the set, especially how it was deliberately not naturalistic, and although there were some long scene changes, the time was filled well. In fact, the live band was one of my favourite aspects about the production – it was original and fun and set the time period nicely.
However, there were a couple of things that bugged me: I didn’t think the acting of the woman playing Rachel was as good as those of the others. Granted, she has quite a difficult role, but I didn’t find myself laughing at what she said as much as I did when reading the script. I also felt the second act was a lot slower than the first; the first act builds up to such a big climax of humour and action, that the second act seems to fall short somewhat. But this is more the fault of the script than the actors.
Overall though I enjoyed the evening, and to top it all off I tweeted about the production afterwards and the actor playing Francis Henshall favourited my tweet! How cool is that? (Well, I think its cool.)