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Show Reviews


Those who have mourned the loss of rising theatre star James Corden from the lead role as the tubby, check-suited, chancer Francis Henshall need not worry as new boy Rufus Hound (anarchic stand up star and Celebrity Juice panellist) deftly takes over the reins with an easy likeability that builds with a slow burn, until you are loudly cheering him on in his exhausting task of pleasing two bosses while secretly filling his ever-starving stomach.

In writer Richard Bean’s inspired version of Carlo Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters – a classic piece of commedia dell’arte – sex, food and money are still high on the agenda, but the action is now set in 1963. Fired from his skiffle band, Francis Henshall (Hound) becomes minder to small time East End hood Roscoe Crabbe now in Brighton to collect a debt. But Roscoe is really his sister Rachel posing as her own dead brother, who’s been killed by her boyfriend Stanley Stubbers. Permanently ravenous Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket and takes a second job with one Stanley Stubbers, who is hiding from the police and waiting to be re-united with Rachel. To prevent discovery, Francis must keep his two guvnors apart…

But this new touring production from the National Theatre’s Nicholas Hytner is very much an ensemble piece with Leon Williams delighting as the earnest over actor Alan Dangle, Edward Bennett hitting just the right notes with toff Stanley Stubbers, Amy Booth-Steel making her mark as man-eater Dolly (to be played at the Grand Theatre by Blackpool’s own Jodie Prenger) and an unforgettable Peter Caulfield completely stealing the famous dinner scene as double-jointed, geriatric waiter Alfie with an over active pacemaker.

And it’s all perfectly punctuated by scene-bridging band The Craze (Richie Hart, Oliver Seymour-Marsh, Billy Stookes and Philip Murray Warson) setting the tone of the 60s with rockabilly and Mersey beats.

The show’s unsung star, however, has got to be Physical Comedy Director Cal McCrystal who has crafted the amazing scenes of physical comedy including the deliciously daft dinner scene and Francis’ shenanigans with a heavy trunk, wonderfully evoking the days of Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy. These have not to be missed!

The National Theatre’s One Man, Two Guvnors starring Rufus Hound and Jodie Prenger is at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre from Tuesday 27th November to Saturday 1st December. Evening and matinee performances. Tickets from £12.

Book your seats now – it’s the ideal escapism for these anxious times…

By Robin Duke, Blackpool Gazette.