One Man, Two Guvnors 13/10/17 Aberystwyth Arts Centre theatre £12 each
Based on The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni, this Black Rat Production is set in the 1960s. Having seen a version based on the original play, we had some expectations of what this version would look like. I think “confusion” best describes our early reactions as the performance started early with a skiffle band on stage, setting the 60s scene and playing several good old-fashioned bop songs. Great musicians, but we were still wondering what was going on.
Basically, an ex-member of the band is minder to an east-end crook Roscoe wanting to collect money owed, but Roscoe is really his twin sister Rachel as her boyfriend Stanley killed Roscoe and they need the money to escape the law…. So, typical mistaken identity, lots of confusion, and the central character Henshall getting in a mess as he takes on work for both Rachel & Stanley while keeping them in the dark.
Once we got into the plot (and the over-acting!) it definitely got better and was very enjoyable by the end. Lots of laughs and we loved the running jokes about ‘identical’ twins, the contortions of the tall, skinny young man who wants to be “an actor”, where did he get the knife from – Woollies! – and the very Welsh Henshall playing an Irishman. Even better was the part played by Christine from the audience – brilliant! Not what you would call ‘politically correct’, and the language was a bit coarse here and there, but it was still funny and once you got used to them, the regular appearance of the band was very entertaining.
It is still on tour in Wales, with several dates in October and November – see their website www.blackratproductions.co.uk for details. Just persevere past the first half to get the best out of the performance.