One Man Two Guvnors first premiered in 2011 and having enjoyed multiple sell-out tours, Sutton Arts Theatre have embraced this witty masterpiece and executed it sublimely. The show is an absolute tour-de-force, with a host of wonderful characters portrayed by the talented cast of actors.
With mistaken identities, an abundance of door slamming and a sprinkle of cross-dressing, Richard Bean’s script is a minefield of hilarity and Sutton Arts squeezed every single laugh out of this evening’s audience. Sophie Louise Johnson played the pretty, yet dim-witted Pauline Clench with an endearing innocence and delivered some cracking one-liners. Paired with George Wyton as Alan, Wyton absolutely shone. His numerous scene-stealing moments were courtesy of his brilliant ‘over-acting’.
Hellie England made for a wonderfully feminist, forthright Dolly, whilst Fidel Lloyd was a perfect Lloyd Boateng and Ray Lawrence performed excellently as the bumbling 87-year-old waiter, Alfie. Alongside them, taking on a rather 39 Steps-esque role (playing numerous characters), Dan Payne seamlessly switched from one role and accent to another.
Simon Baker stepped into the daunting role of Francis Henshall. The part requires pinpoint comic timing, as well as excellent slapstick skills - get this wrong and some of the fantastic physical moments can go flat. Baker didn't put a foot wrong. With an unrelenting energy, he attacked the part head on and captivated the audience throughout, with some brilliant asides and uproarious audience participation! His relationship with his two masters - Gemma Smyth as Rachel Crabbe and Gary Pritchard as Stanley Stubbers - was sublime. Each of them captured their characters so incredibly well and the entire cast were blisteringly funny.
Strong support came from Paul Wescott as Charlie the Duck and Andy Tomlinson as Harry Dangle. The only very minor point would be that the addition of a skiffle band (an optional element of the show) would have further lifted the energy. However, the use of recorded soundtracks helped mask the larger scene changes, which were efficiently executed.
Under super direction from Director, Rosemary Manjunath and the very effective, yet practical set design from Jeff Darlow, Sutton Arts have certainly brought to glorious life Richard Bean’s terrific play.
One Man Two Guvnors plays at Sutton Arts Theatre until 10 September.
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