Monday, 21 May 2012

One Man, Two Guvnors, 12 May 2012

Who's in it?  Owain Arthur, Martin Barrass , David Benson, Robin Berry, Nigel Betts, Gillian Budd, Andrew Dennis, Derek Elroy, Gerard Horan, Daniel Ings, Ben Mansfield, Laura Matthews, Jodie Prenger, Richard Shanks, Hannah Spearritt, Gemma Whelan and  Matthew Woodyat.

Where did you see it? Theatre Royal Haymarket

One Man, Two Guvnors originally starred James Corden, Chris Oliver and Jemima Rooper, they have now taken this smash hit play (it transfered to Aldwych from the Lyttelton, National Theatre AND toured the UK) to Broadway and the play continues, with Corden's understudy Owain Arthur, taking on the lead role at the Haymarket.

The Theatre Royal Haymarket is a horrible, expensive mess of a venue. I shouldn't have gone back after seeing The Importance of Being Earnest there a few months ago but the National Theatre were offering cheap (and what I thought were better) seats in the Upper Circle. My seats in the Upper Circle were even worse than the balcony. For anyone familiar with The Simpsons you will remember a wonderful scene where Springfield's police force have their own documentary series Bad Cops. In Bad Cops we see Principal Skinner and his mother Agnes call out the police. The argument surrounds the television where one half of the screen has been covered causing a hysterical Skinner to exclaim "We rented The Man Without a Face...I didn't even know he had a problem!"

I could only see half the stage, something not apparent if you were to book tickets for OMTG and take a look at the seating plan. I was in C3 Upper Circle, the couple next to me on C1 & C2 left about five minutes into the show. Whilst a ticket can stress restricted view they had no view at all. A complete rip off on the part of the TRH. Especially when they are charging at least £15 for seats where the audience cannot see the play.
Jodie Prentice and Owain Arthur

As for OMTG part of me wants to suggests anyone with restricted view tickets isn't actually missing much. I don't get the rave reviews (and it seems the Oliviers agreed with me). The play revolves around Brighton, mistaken identity between a twin brother and sister, the sister's lover who murdered her brother and the harlequin in the form of Francis Henshall (Arthur) who acts as minder for both Rachel (the twin sister of the dead Rocco) and her boyfriend Stanley, who she is escaping to Australia with.

Firstly there is too much going on, a lot of the back story involving the fiancee of the late Rocco feels tacked on and where this is humour it feels false, in fact it is false. The corpsing, the audience participation (except one section are all faked) and I fail to understand how such a strong adaption by Richard Bean of A Servant of Two Masters needed to break the fourth wall (or pretend to). My review and disappointment is definitely to do with the poor seats where I couldn't see a lot of the action but also a shockingly poor play that's doesn't really know where it is going.

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