REVIEW: Juggling is more than an act in TCAN’s madcap British comedy, ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’
One man seems to have his work cut out for him.
The last time TCAN Players delved into a comedy seeped in mistaken identities, a twist-filled plot, and a wealth of physical humor was for romantic farce, First Things First. In TCAN’s One Man, Two Guvnors, things get wilder, semi-interactive, and injected with unmistakable British flair.
Directed insightfully by Kevin Groppe, TCAN Players present the 60s madcap British comedy, One Man Two Guvnors by Richard Bean through Sunday, November 17 at The Center for the Arts in Natick, Massachusetts. This show contains adult humor and innuendo not suitable for kids. Click here for more information and for tickets.
A quirky romp defined by British humor, TCAN’s One Man Two Guvnors was derived from the 1743 Italian comedy, A Servant and Two Masters. Actor, comedian, and television host James Corden also won a Tony Award for his role as fumbling and scheming Francis. Set in 1963 Brighton and featuring popular Beatles songs that enhance the plot, Francis, a meaty, comedic role portrayed by Nicholas Magray, stumbles upon an opportunity to serve two bosses and potentially reap twice the profit. However, he is in for a lot more than he bargained for.
Peter Watson and Tom Powers’s sliding, transforming set manages to combine elements from the Italian comedy and British adaptation by demonstrating a retro feel from colorful, double diamond walls flanked with British flags and a portrait of the queen while two popular characters from Italian comedy look on. Dustin Todd Rennells skillfully combines a smorgasbord of 60s designs featuring colorful ties, florals, and plaids faithful to that celebrated era in Britain while reflecting each character’s distinctive style.
With mystery, romance, and more than its fair share of silliness, One Man Two Guvnors is fueled by a dynamic cast who will do just about anything for a laugh as they take on a wealth of improvisation and timely, physical humor. It’s a madcap, jazzy, feel-good sort of show that does not consistently stay with the plot, but not to worry, Francis will redirect the audience momentarily.
The one man that leads this comedic charge is Nicholas Magrey’s turn as Francis, a calculating, advantageous, and constantly hungry individual who not only juggles his veritable tasks onstage, but also acts as a part time narrator. It is easy to see James Corden in this role, but Magrey’s performance is no imitation. With lively blue eyes and sharp comic timing, Magrey rises to the occasion at every erratic turn.
Just a few highlights from the cast include hilarious pair Sonya Richards as dim-witted and spoiled Pauline and Robert Slotnick as aspiring actor Alan. Slotnick’s over dramatic Alan embraces every exaggerated pose to the hilt and it is equally amusing to watch Sonya as ditzy Pauline who takes a moment longer to catch on.
Quinton Kappel goes to great comedic lengths as stern yet sensitive Stanley, one of Francis’s bosses. A.J. Masiello also goes above and beyond in his role as elderly trainee Alfie. Kappel as Stanley and Magrey as Francis have a few humorous scenes as they trade places depicting the straight man in each scene. Danielle Wehner shows off her comedic chops with a couple of roles that will not be revealed here. Kim MacCormack is wonderful as flirtatious and cheeky Dolly, swaggering across the stage with a knowing smile.
Give it a go and have a good laugh with TCAN Players production of One Man Two Guvnors continuing through Sunday, November 17 at the Center for the Arts in Natick, 14 Summer Street in Natick, Massachusetts. Click here for more information, tickets, and upcoming productions.