One Man, Two Guvnors - 16Feb2023
Review by Claire Taranaski
Sheffield Library Theatre
Set in Brighton in the 1960s, Richard Bean's multi-award winning play is a glourous celebration of British Comedy.
I came into
this review slightly bias as have previous seen the national tour of this
Richard Bean comedy and loved it but also knew that if any company in
Sheffield could pull it off it was Tudor Players so | was thrilled that this
production confirmed that was definitely the case.
normally start a review by mentioning the music but “The One Man Band”, made
up of Steve Mitchell, Steve Hepple and Peter Crown, three songs before the
curtain raised made me long to hear a full set of their skiffle music and so
I was thrilled when they came on to play a number during each scene change.
On the subject of music, I must also skip to the finale and mention the full
cast number, which might be the nearest we get to Tudor Players: The Musical
but made me hope my dreams for that one day come true.
Before I get
onto the cast, I must also praise director Phil Gascoyne, who confirmed he
is equal if not more talented as director than as a cast member for the
company, in a show that is dependent on its comic timing and directing and
getting the best out of its cast Phil created near perfection.
performance of the night rightly came from Ross Banister as Francis Henshall
/ Paddy (aka the one man with two guvnors) who combined amazing stage
presence, comic timing and slapstick (at it’s best whilst playing both sides
of a fight with himself – needs to be seen to be believed) whilst also being
a talented washboard player. Ross deserves to play this role on a national
tour or at least be given his own one man show and highly reminded me of
Shameless actor Ciaran Griffiths.
out performances included Jenn Aspinall as Dolly, who was superb at breaking
the front wall and saying exactly what every other woman is thinking;
Siobhan Hibble returning to the company as Rachel Crabbe who wonderfully
pulled off playing both herself and her twin brother without the need to
break into obvious stereotypes (and for anyone who gets confused providing
the definite explanation of the different between identical and
non-identical twins) with for me just a hint of Only Fools’ And Horses
gangster Tony Driscoll; Josh Cooper returning to the company as Alan Dangle
and pulling off the difficult feet of playing an overacting wannabe actor
whilst acting on stage; and Charlie Gascoyne -Thompson as Pauline Clench who
can add perfecting bimbo (aka “they couldn’t make bricks thicker”) and Joe
Gascoyne-Thompson as Stanley Stubbers who can add perfecting public school
toff to their acting repertories.
front of the programme “Set in Brighton in the 1960s, Richard Bean’s
multi-award winning play is a glorious celebration of British comedy and the
perfect antidote for the winter blues” and I think everyone in the audience
couldn’t agree more.
And on the
subject of the audience, unlike the national tour which obviously had cast
members planted in the audience to take part in the play’s interaction,
Tudor Players did one better by getting a random audience member on stage
during one of the best scenes of the night, the food serving scene, which
made it better. I can’t mention this scene without celebrating new to the
company’s Sean Fagan as the elderly waiter Alfie, reminiscence of an aging
Manuel from Fawlty Towers who stole the show for a second time later during
another of my favourite scenes, the police chase as he hobbled through the
Benny Hill style chaos around him.