One Man, Two Guvnors by Richard Bean

Oh what a man! Francis Henshall is a man driven by his needs, whether its food or a good woman, he is totally consumed and motivated by his desires. Wheeling and dealing is the name of the game and his twists and turns form the plot. This is a play that has been performed everywhere from the West End to mainstream theatres around the country and the Little Theatre does it full justice.

Whatever your age or inclination, it grips you in its grasp and doesn’t let go until the final curtain

The play opens with a musical rendition that transports us back to a very pattern-heavy living room in the wonderfully tasteless 1960s. We are subjected to a cheesy dance routine that makes Pans People look sophisticated but somehow it’s great. Younger members of the audience will look upon it as wonderfully retro and the rest will cringe remembering a time when they thought it was the height of fashion. Whatever your age or inclination, it grips you in its grasp and doesn’t let go until the final curtain.

Scene changes are wonderfully entertaining with Pathé films of Brighton in a by-gone era. The local audience just laps it up, making a sport of spotting familiar places as they were. We are transported from one scene to another with effortless ease. Richard Bean’s wonderful script is delivered with verve.

The whole cast play their parts brilliantly; from the scarily statuesque Dolly to the entertainingly actorly Alan, née Orlando, Darling and on to the disturbingly, George Osborne-like Stanley Stubbers. We can ignore the occasional lapses in accents as we are kept thoroughly entertained. Alfie’s misfortunes, of which there are many, have a hint of the late, great lamented Victoria Wood’s creation Mrs Overall but on a very bad day. Who can’t love a firm of solicitors called Dangle, Berry & Bush. I rest my case. All this is interspersed with musical interludes well performed and ladies, your harmonies rock!

To sum up, if you’ve had a bad day or your cat’s died go and see this. You will come away with a smile on your face and a renewed love for Brighton.

Reviews by Gill Balfour

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The Blurb

Falling trousers, flying fish heads, star-crossed lovers and cross-dressing mobsters are just some of the delights that await you in this West End/Broadway smash hit. Set in 1960s Brighton, the play focuses on Francis Henshall, who becomes separately employed by two criminals.