Tuesday, August 16

One Man, Two Guvnors – Liverpool Playhouse

Liverpool Playhouse Theatre welcomes The West End and Broadway hit comedy “One Man, Two Guvnors”.  Following its roaring success when the show was first performed in 2011 and starred James Cordon, it is a delight to see production companies ‘Octagon Theatre Bolton’ and ‘Theatre by the Lake’ have taken this show on the road and is gracing our Liverpool Playhouse stage this summer. 

The audience are welcomed by the sweet tones of the cast who also make up the house band in this production. Elevated on the first floor of a striking set, the band set the mood for this fun, energetic production set in 1963. The theatre is alight with flashing bulbs that give fantastic seaside holiday vibes, in keeping with the Brighton setting.

The story begins in the home of Charlie (Rodney Matthew) who is celebrating his daughter Pauline’s (Lauren Sturgess) engagement to Alan (Qasim Mahmood). Only two weeks ago, Pauline was engaged to Roscoe but following his unfortunate death, Pauline found a new intended and since Charlie had already paid for the sausage rolls, the party went ahead! A surprise visitor arrives, Francis (Jordan Pearson) who was Roscoe’s minder and soon after, Roscoe (Siobhan Athwal) himself turns up! The story gets more complicated when Francis gains a second employer Stanley (Laurie Jamieson) who has a very close connection to Roscoe and his twin sister Rachel. Has Roscoe risen from the dead? Will Francis manage with orders from not one but two bosses?  Will Pauline and Alan make it down the line?  There is lots of uncover on this ‘London to Brighton line!’ Making up this strong cast of eleven is Karl Seth as ‘Harry’, Polly Lister as ‘Dolly’, Javier Marzan as ‘Alfie’, Matthew Ganley as ‘Gareth’ and Alexander Bean as ‘Lloyd’.

Photo: Pamela Raith

The show took some time to warm up and although the characters were good, I was willing them to go even bigger! Luckily, things were ramped up and towards the end of Act One, all chaos had broken loose meaning there was endless laughter from the audience.  The comedy is classic slapstick and farcical and there is no way you couldn’t laugh at some of the pandemonium that unfolds!

This show includes a little audience participation, which wasn’t expected but added another dimension to the comedy and you see the performers using their natural skills, sharing impromptu jokes and bringing everyone together.

‘One Man Two Guvnors’ embraces lots of physical comedy with heaps of confusion and predictable outcomes but the talented cast made this piece their own with their clever movements and fantastic timing that added humour in bucketfuls!  Although the whole cast were excellent in their given roles, ‘Alfie’, played by Javier Marzan, made me laugh by just standing there and ‘Stanley’, played by Laurie Jamieson, brought all of the perfectly ridiculous Boris Johnston vibes!

Having reviewed a lot of shows before, it is unusual to see the cast double up as the band. What a fantastic opportunity to reveal these talented individuals as not just actors, but singers and musicians too.  The music is catchy and enjoyable, played effortlessly by this talented bunch of performers!

Congratulations to a very professional cast and production team on an excellent opening night for “One Man Two Guvnors”. There is a bit of something for everyone in this night of live theatre; music, drama, comedy and lots of entertainment!  The show continues until Saturday 16th of July, for ticket information, please visit www.everymanplayhouse.com

Reviewer: Blathine Maguire

Reviewed: 29th June 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★