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One Man, Two Guvnors - Sheffield Lyceum

Published by: Paul Tyree on 19th May 2014 | View all blogs by Paul Tyree

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One Man Two Guvnors’

Sheffield Lyceum

Playing until Sat 24th May

Review by Paul Tyree

The smash hit National Theatre production based on Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters does what it says on the tin in terms of plot. One man, Francis, serves two masters, or guvnors and the ensuing conflict as he is pulled in opposite directions lends itself to quite hilarious farce.

What is amazing about this play and stands head and shoulders above any other achievement we may claim about it is the genius of the writing and its understanding of theatre. Richard Bean has created a play that manages to break the invisible wall of the theatre and involve the audience quite literally at several points of the play.

Whilst that too is a falsehood it is the awkward hilarity of the audience believing in its own contribution that gives this production a depth and a worth that goes far beyond most farces that you are likely to see.

Gavin Spokes is flawless as Francis the central cog around which all the other characters revolve. His is a performance that shows a great understanding of comedy and whilst you know he is working incredibly hard it all comes across as effortless and absolutely in the moment.

It would be wrong to single out anyone else from the cast as they all perform beautifully and there is not a weak link amongst them but together they all manage to give to the audience an evening frequently interrupted by huge belly laughs and a sense that they are witnessing something truly remarkable.

Sometimes the reputation of a play damages it terribly as living up to people’s expectations is sometimes the most difficult thing in the world. Here, this cast, this play not only live up to your expectations but far exceed them. If you can get a ticket, you should!

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