Does the new cast of One Man Two Guvnors match up to Corden et al?
Saw One Man Two Guvnors at the National Theatre last year and enjoyed it very much, despite myself and the elements of farce that I find irritating.
The production proved good fodder for ticket sales transferring to the West End. And it's about to open on Broadway leaving a new cast to entertain London audiences at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. But how do they measure up?
Well firstly it's not quite as starry a cast as the original production unless you are a fan of TV talent shows or S Club 7 (Jodie Prenger and Hannah Spearritt). Owain Arthur steps into James Corden's shoes as Francis - a difficult act to follow. Arthur plays up his Welsh accent giving the performance a different flavour while maintaining the elements of the original which are much loved, and he soon has the audience eating out of his hand.
Elsewhere there was less distinction between performances but then there is a strong case for saying, 'if it ain't broke don't fix it'.
I found the first 20 minutes a little bit too hammy for my liking but once it got into its stride comparisons with the original started to fade.
One Man Two Guvnors is still packing in the laughs and is a fun, entertaining evening at the theatre - arguably the funniest thing in town at the moment. The bonus of seeing it again is that the humour in the script floats to the surface, unfettered from seeing the physical comedy for the first time. It is a very witty script, wittier than I remembered.
If you didn't see the original cast of One Man Two Guvnors this is definitely a production worthy of its London residency. If you enjoyed the original, then there is that tiny starry spark of experience missing but the heart of the original is there to enjoy.
First time around it got 4 stars and it's getting very solid 4 stars again. One Man Two Guvnors runs at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until September 1.
Official production shots below by Johan Persson