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One Man, Two Guvnors at the Theatre Royal Windsor

Published by: Clare Brotherwood on 8th Jun 2016 | View all blogs by Clare Brotherwood

A drama of a different kind took centre stage at Windsor’s Theatre Royal last night when the audience had to be evacuated because of flash flooding.

But the adverse weather conditions were nothing compared to the thunderous applause the Windsor Repertory Company would most surely have received for their spirited production of Richard Bean’s award-winning comedy One Man, Two Guvnors.

Nothing could detract from this energetic, and hilarious rendition, which got the Windsor Repertory Festival of six plays in six weeks off to a splendid start.

I’d already seen this in London’s West End and Andrew Beckett’s performance as Francis Henshall will remain in my memory just as much as James Cordon’s. Instantly loveable, this bundle of fun is a human dynamo as he throws himself about the stage, endearing himself to us as he becomes increasingly confused as to which gangster he is working for. It’s just as well his part is so physical as Henshall is obsessed with food and Beckett has to consume quite an amount during each performance!

Under Paul Taylor-Mills expert direction, the rest of the cast also come up to the mark. I especially like Jonathan Ray’s OTT performance as the theatrical Alan Dangle, and Anton Tweedale as Alfie, the 87-year-old arthritic waiter whose slow progress across the stage is a thing of wonder.

Song and dance plays a part too, with Hannah Vesty as Dolly doing a great routine. Oh, and there’s a bit of audience participation, quite apart from the flooded front stalls!

In the hands of the Windsor Repertory Company, One Man, Two Guvnors is unbridled madness and I can’t wait to see what these versatile performers come up with in the following weeks. Certainly they have a diverse programme, but then, that’s how actors learned their trade back in the day.

The Windsor Repertory Company was first created in 1938 by John Counsell,  the late owner of the Theatre Royal (his daughter actress Elizabeth Counsell was present last night) and last year, to celebrate 200 years of the Theatre Royal Windsor, weekly rep was revived to critical acclaim. Let’s hope other theatres will take its lead.

One Man, Two Guvnors is at the Theatre Royal Windsor until June 11. The Windsor Repertory Festival then continues with:

June 14-18: Deadly Nightcap

June 21-25: Bedroom Farce

June 28-July 2: Jamaica Inn

July 5-9: The Ladykillers

July 12-16: Pygmalion

Box Office: 01753 853888

www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

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