Venue: Sydney Theatre at Walsh Bay (Sydney NSW), Apr 2 – May 11, 2013
Playwright: Richard Bean, based on The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni
Songs: Grant Olding
Director: Nicholas Hytner
Actors: Owain Arthur, Edward Bennett, Amy Booth-Steel, Alicia Davies
This work of nostalgia references British comedy in the 60s and 70s, utilising every familiar mechanism that contemporary audiences would know from Benny Hill, Are You Being Served, and the Carry On films. It cleverly incorporates an endless string of raucous gags, unafraid of the lowbrow but carefully avoiding anything that would be deemed “bad taste” by today’s standards, such as the homophobia and misogyny that had featured prominently in the past.
Hynter’s direction brings to Sydney a breath of fresh air, a kind of theatre less concerned with “high culture”, and more to do with pantomime and commedia dell’arte. Sydney Theatre at Walsh Bay felt like it had been administered a shot of adrenaline; not a minute passed without screams of laughter were hurled at the stage in joyful appreciation.
Theatre is serious business, one which comprises hundreds of different disciplines. Even in the realm of pure entertainment such as this production, One Man, Two Guvnors demonstrates what can be achieved when great skill and talent are applied perfectly.