Just me talking about costume-y kind of stuff
Directed by Nicholas Hynter
Scenery and Costumes designed by Mark Thompson
All photos credit: The National Theatre and Marc Brenner.
One Man, Two Guvnors, by Richard Bean, is an adaptation of the Italian commedia play Servant of Two Masters by Goldoni. MCC just did that show to open our season in the fall of 2019. I had never seen or read this adaptation before so I was really excited to see a production of it. All I knew about it before I saw it, is that it stars James Corden as the Truffaldino character and is set in the early 1960's in England. Here's a plot summary from the National Theatre's website:
Fired from his skiffle band, Francis Henshall becomes minder to Roscoe Crabbe, a small time East End hood, now in Brighton to collect £6,000 from his fiancée’s dad. But Roscoe is really his sister Rachel posing as her own dead brother, who’s been killed by her boyfriend Stanley Stubbers. Holed up at The Cricketers’ Arms, the permanently ravenous Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket and takes a second job with one Stanley Stubbers, who is hiding from the police and waiting to be re-united with Rachel. To prevent discovery, Francis must keep his two guvnors apart. Simple.
Here's the Official Trailer:
Act I takes place in the home of Charlie "the Duck" Clench and his daughter Paulina-- the Pantalone and Clarice characters in the original version--where we are introduced to all the characters. It's mostly a one costume per character kind of show. Clench is wearing a dark pinstripe suit, Pauline is wearing a pink floral late 1950's dress with a net petticoat and white heels. Her hair is worn in a bouffant. Her fiance, Alan Dangle (the Silvio character) wears all black (he's an actor) with hair that's too long, black leather jacket, black ribbed turtle neck, black chinos and black Beetle boots. Alan's dad, Harry Dangle (Doctor Lombardi), is also wearing a pin-stripe suit (he's a criminal defense lawyer for the Mafia) but looking much more like Uncle Vernon Dursley than anything else. Clarice's maid, Smeraldina, in this play is Dolly, Clench's secretary/accountant. She knows where all the money is and where all the bodies are buried. Dolly is sporting a ginger beehive hairdo, a tight tweed skirt, and sweater set. Francis (Trufaldino) shows up to put a stop to the engagement party with his first guvnor, Roscoe Crabbe, the small time East End hood. But of course it's really Rachel his sister, in disguise. Rachel is of course the Beatrice character whose brother was killed by her boyfriend, Florindo, or in this version, Stanley. "Roscoe" is wearing another dark pin striped suit with a hat. Francis is wearing a three piece suit in brown plaid with a vest that's a bit too short and pants that are hemmed a bit too high for fashion.
Act II moves to the street in front of Lloyd Boateng's inn, The Cricketers' Arms. Lloyd is the Brighella character. Lloyd is a Jamaican national and is the only character who changes costumes every time we see him. We meet Stanley too, who is staying there. Stanley is wearing a blue blazer and a tie.
Act III goes inside the Cricketers' Arms for the hilarious dinner scene. Gareth and Alfie are the waiters who are helping Francis keep his two guvnors in food. Alfie is particularly good, performing perfect pratfalls and other physical gags. The slapstick has been traded for a cricket bat in this scene, and Alfie gets hit with it several times, as well as falling down the stairs.
Act IV is back out on the street, but we've moved closer to the end of it where the pier is, for the climactic lovers' suicide attempts and discovery of their true identities. We see Stanley jump of the pier into the water before Rachel can get there. While Rachel is contemplating jumping, Stanley miraculously appears on the pier soaking wet. The reunion is particularly silly and ends with them stripping out of their wet clothes and embracing with their pants down, revealing two pairs of white boxers, black socks and sock garters. Lloyd shows up to tell them to get a room.
Act V is back to the Clench's house for the happy resolution of all three couples. At this point, "Roscoe" has shed his suit to become Rachel in a dress. All of the scene changes are covered by Charlie's old skiffle band performing original songs with various members of the cast. The music was written and performed by a real-life skiffle band, Grant Olding and The Craze.