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One Man, Two Guvnors – 13th – 17th November 2012, Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Published by: Jon Cuthbertson on 15th Nov 2012 | View all blogs by Jon Cuthbertson

Bringing 18th Century farce up to date (well up to 1963 actually) and making it appeal to a mass audience is a skill - and One Man Two Guvnors has this (and many more skills) in abundance!

Rufus Hound leads the touring cast of this production and makes a great job as the 'One Man' of the title, Francis Henshall. His wit with one-liners is indeed what he is known for from his stints on TV, but it was his remarkable timing in the physical comedy that impressed me even more. From tumbling over chairs to catch peanuts via madcap chase scenes to full on slapstick, Mr Hound shows great versatility and control in portraying the manic leading role. He is ably supported by a cast who have perfected the very difficult art of comedy, both verbal and physical, required of this play which is based very heavily on the commedia dell'arte roots of its original text. Amy Booth-Steel is fantastic as Dolly, frivolous, fun and sexy. Her comic timing was immaculate and delivery was pitched perfectly for laughs. Rosie Wyatt and Edward Bennett as the “Guvnors” were great foils for Mr Hound too and as with many of the other members of the cast, showed a great deal of versatility with musical abilities on display too. Talking of music, the soundtrack was mostly provided by live band “The Craze” – a suited up skiffle band with a great 60s vibe. Their opening set before curtain up certainly helped to build the audience into a frenzy, very much forgetting they had just stepped in from a cold and wet Tuesday evening in Glasgow.


The only criticism ever levelled at this play, has been the use of plants to enable some rather elaborate “ad-libs” and extended slapstick scenes. The fact is however that this play is based on the text of Gondoli, who was also given the same criticism for being the first person to “script” Commedia Dell’Arte, therefore it makes sense that this updated translation of his The Servant of Two Masters text would follow the same “set-ups”. And in all fairness this has to be the best use of this device I have seen for a long time!


Previous reviews have billed this show ‘The Funniest Show on The Planet’ and I don’t think this is too far from the truth. Peter Caulfield, as 87 year old, hard of hearing waiter Alfie gave one of the most dynamic pieces of physical theatre and it is easy to see why he has been snapped up by one of the county’s leading motion capture studios. And kudos must also be given to Alicia Davies who gave the most convincing performance of the night.


I cannot recommend this show highly enough – there is so much to tell, but it would spoil it all – so grab a ticket and then grab on to your sides as you belly laugh for 2 and a half hours. If they say laughter is the best medicine, this show should be on prescription!





Tue 13 – Sat 17 Nov

Tue – Sat eves 7.30pm

Thu & Sat mats 2.30pm

Tickets: £12 - £29.50


Box Office: 0844 871 7647 (Bkg fee)




  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 5 years ago
    Thanks, Jon. This sounds like a corker! SOLD!!
  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 5 years ago
    Oo-er ... Rufus Hound just retweeted this review to his 712,378 followers say that it was "a lovely thing to read"!!
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