The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
December 14, 15, 16 & 17 [+mat] 2016.
One Man, Two Guvnors
Adaptation by Richard Bean
Tony Brownings & Bob Ryder
Mark Best – Francis Henshall
David Peaty – Charlie Clench
Rose Hall-Smith – Pauline Clench
Dan Dryer – Harry Dangle
Maurice Humphreys – Alan Dangle
Anna Steddon – Dolly
John Garland – Lloyd
Charlotte Miller – Rachel Crabbe
Matthew Arnold – Stanley Stubbers
Brian Pitt (aka Bob Ryder) – Alfie
Julian Batstone – Gareth, Passing-by Vicar, Policeman
Peter Joyce – Taxi Driver, Policeman
Anita Shipton – Passing-by Old Lady
Helen Armes – Helen Armes
Stage Manager – Dave Comber
Deputy Stage Manager – Adrian Kenward
Lighting Design – Martin Oakley
Lighting Operator – Martin Oakley
Lighting Operator – Kieran Pollard
Set Concept – Tony Brownings
Wardrobe – Maggi Pierce
Wardrobe – Cherry Fraser
Properties – Anita Shipton
Properties – Di Tidzer
Set Construction – Dave Comber
Set Construction – Dave Collis
Set Construction – Nigel Goldfinch
Set Construction – Carl Gray
Set Construction – Gary Walker
Scenic Painting – Judith Berrill
Scenic Painting – Sue Chaplin
Poster Design – Judith Berrill
Publicity – Peter Joyce
Publicity – Maggi Pierce
Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy
Publicity – Judith Berrill
Front of House – Tor Dunster
The Kraze Band
Phil Jones – Double Bass
Adam Ronchetti – Washboard & Snare
Scott Smith – Banjo, Guitar, Clarinet
Fred Gregory – Electric guitar
Programme Note #1: One Man, Two Guvnors
TB and BR wrote: ” The comedy presented in this production goes back a long way. At its heart is a play originally written down more than 250 years ago, by a playwright in Venice who got tired of all his comedians making up their own stuff. He nailed down a great story about a servant who tries to make his way by getting two jobs with two different masters. Then he carefully wrote down all the lines for the comedians, on a very long bit of paper, and he made it very clear what he would do to them if they buggered about with it when they got on stage.
So began the story of best surviving example of the ‘Commedia del Arte’ tradition of European comedy – usually know along the lines of A Servant of Two Masters. Carlo Goldoni – for it was he who wrote down the play on the long bit of paper – has a lot to answer for. It has gone down through the centuries in many translations and adaptations – some of them very ‘free’ adaptations.
The most recent – and very free – adaptation is by Richard Bean, a playwright in his own right, who knows a good idea when he nicks one. Forget Venice, forget 1750. We’re in Brighton, and it’s 1963. And what’s more, we’re going to pack in even more gags and filth than ever before.
The National Theatre also has an eye on the money these days and it hit the jackpot in 2011 when it opened One Man, Two Guvnors to enormous success. Then off to the West End, then off to Broadway, scooping pay-cheques and prizes all along the way.
We’ve had a great time working with the splendidly funny script what Richard Bean has created. There are few plays which – if they’re done well – are as funny as this one. Let’s hope we won’t disappoint.
Now. A big welcome to three stage performers making their debut at the Barn – Charlotte Miller, Alan Humphreys [sic] and Rose Hall-Smith are all new to the company, with lots of stuff they can strut. In addition, please offer a warm hand to The Kraze – four talented young men from Shoreham Beach who make up the amazing skiffle band so vital to the show. If you get bored with the daft stuff on stage, just listen to these guys play.
And please, especially at this time of the year, spare a thought for sad old blokes who end up directing stuff like this. We hope you enjoy the show. But even if you don’t, please make an effort and look like you are. It keeps us off the streets.
Publicity #1: One Man, Two Guvnors
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: December 1 2016 issue – page 29
Correspondent: Elaine Hammond
Text Header: “West End satire comes to Barn”
Wick Theatre Company is putting on Richard Bean’s award-winning play One Man, Two Guvnors. This glorious celebration of British comedy offers laugh-out-loud satire, live music from a skiffle band, plenty of slapstick and some glittering one-liners. It was a smash-hit at the National Theatre in 2011 before transferring to the West End and then to Broadway, with James Corden in the cast.
Judith Berrill, press officer, said: “Wick has assembled a fine cast – some new, some familiar names but all dedicated to transporting the audience back to the early 1960’s, aided by our on-stage band The Kraze, a four-piece skiffle band of professional musicians. The Wick’s production sees Mark Best taking the lead rôle of Francis. Mark has often been compared to James Corden – in real life as well as his acting prowess.”
Performances are at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, from December 14 to 17, at 7.30pm [sic] daily with a 2.30pm Saturday matinée. Tickets are £11 from the box office on 01273 597094 or via www.wicktheatre.co.uk
Review #1: One Man, Two Guvnors
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: December 22 2016 issue – page 12
Reviewer: Elaine Hammond
Text Header: “Wick scores hit with West End comedy”
The words ‘one of the best things I have seen for some time’ rang out from all corners as the audience left The Barn Theatre in Southwick last Wednesday.
Wick Theatre Company’s production of One Man Two Guvnors had gone down a storm with the capacity audience on opening night. Central to the hilarity was Mark Best, in the lead rôle of Francis Henshall, the man who does indeed have two ‘guvnors’.
Among his many crazy antics, his one-man fight scene was something to behold. It is very difficult to have a full-on fight with yourself and make it look convincing but Mark managed it – and for quite some minutes. He engaged with the audience through various asides and even pulled up people from the front rows to take part in the action.
Mark was backed up by a number of great character performances. Anna Steddon was fantastic as Dolly, lovely and clear in her speech and relaxed in her movements. Rose Hall-Smith gave us a great contrast as Pauline ‘I don’t understand’ Clench. The two ladies worked really well together.
The other main female in the cast spent most of the play ‘disguised’ as a man. Charlotte Miller, playing Rachel Crabbe, was making her debut at The Barn Theatre – and what a debut! It was another assured performance and it was nice to see her in a lively dress at the end, having spent the rest of the play drowning in a suit that was way too big for her.
Among the men, Maurice Humphreys was hilarious as Alan Dingle, the would-be actor, over-egging the performance to perfection. Matthew Arnold was another of my favourites, getting many of the laughs as Stanley Stubbers, not lest with his glow-in-the-dark moment!
There were a few first-night slip ups with the script but the comedy flowed and it was all a bit of a hectic, crazy piece, it did not really matter.
In any case, the seats are filled every night of the run so it is a real winner for the Wick.
Review #2: One Man, Two Guvnors
Publication: Brighton Argus
Publication Data: September19 2016
Reviewer: Barrie Jerram
RICHARD Bean’s award-winning play, freely adapted from a 250-year-old example of Commedia de Arte, is set in Brighton and updated to 1963 complete with a live skiffle band.
It centres round a prototype Del Boy, Francis Henshall trying to hold down two jobs simultaneously and pleasing both masters. What ensures is pure farcical mayhem. Although the play places a heavy burden on the actor playing Henshall, it also requires a solid framework of support from the rest of the cast. In this production Mark Best and colleagues rose to the challenge and delivered highly entertaining performances.
Among the excellent performances there were stand-outs from Rose hall-Smith – a delightful portrayal of dim-wittedness and knockabout [literally] cameo of an octogenarian waiter from Bran Pitt, bearing a remarkable resemblance to Bob Ryder, co-director with Tony Brownings.
Their direction moved the piece at a lively pace as did the numerous scene changes.
Review #3: One Man, Two Guvnors
Publication: N.O.D.A – National Operatic and Dramatic Association
Publication Data: December 15 2016
Reviewer: Lance Milton – Regional representative for South East Region District 1 – Mid Sussex
I had wanted to see this play in London when it was at the Adelphi with James Corden in the lead role but sadly circumstance and ridiculously busy life prevented the opportunity, so I was thrilled to find that Wick were to produce the play. The award winning company never fail to attain the high production values and performance standard that is professional in all but the monetary sense and exactly what all amateur companies should set as the bar.
On arrival we were met with the beautiful Skiffle tones of ‘The Kraze’ a four piece band who are clearly more than a tip of the hat to Grant Olding’s ‘The Craze’ who provided the original scoring and accompaniment for the West End debut production. The sound they produced was polished, balanced and toe tappingly intoxicating and this threaded beautifully through the entire production and was perfectly mixed by the technical team whose input was wholly first class throughout.
Stage management, lighting and sound were tight and creative while always greatly adding mood to the performance rather than being overtly bold in isolation. An imaginative articulately finished set using six Periaktois including two practical doors was slickly handled and scenes changed by the cast in a delightfully choreographed slapstick manner accompanied by the band.
The construct and writing of this play is an exquisite modern retelling of the 1743 Commedia Dell’arte, Carlo Goldini’s Servant of Two Masters. Richard Bean has captured not only the hilarity of the original but also the custom and feel of 1960’s Brighton as its setting, where we meet the protagonist of our piece, Francis Henshall. We invest in this character extensively as he consistently breaks the fourth wall to engage us and indeed involve members of the audience [and plants] in the show. The commitment, not least the physical excursion, required for the part are vital and instrumental in carrying the plot, so it is no surprise that the premier accolade for excellence must be given to Mark Best whose charm, charisma and sheer stamina were an astonishing delight.
The entire company were on point and while it seems unfair to highlight others I particularly enjoyed Mathew Arnold’s spot on public-school-caricature portrayal of Stanley Stubbers and the natural perfectly timed delivery from Rose Hall-Smith as a hilariously dense Pauline Clench. However it was one of the directors, Bob Ryder under the tickling pseudonym Bran Pitt, who provided the belly-laugh-until-I-cried moment of the show with his physical comic genius wine bottle opening routine. Sheer brilliance! A brilliance that was typical of the entire production he directed alongside Tony Brownings.
This was yet another resounding success for the Wick both artistically and highly deservedly at box office too with every show sold out or at least very full.
A masterclass in how to do it!