|One Man, Two Guvnors|
|Written by||Richard Bean|
|Date premiered||24 May 2011|
|Place premiered||Lyttelton Theatre|
One Man, Two Guvnors is a play by Richard Bean, an English adaptation of Servant of Two Masters (Italian: Il servitore di due padroni), a 1743 Commedia dell'arte style comedy play by the Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni. The play replaces the Italian period setting of the original with Brighton in 1963. The play opened at the National Theatre in 2011, toured in the UK and then opened in the West End in November 2011, with a subsequent Broadway opening in April 2012. The second tour was launched six months later, playing the UK, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. The second UK production in London closed in March 2014, before a third tour of the UK began in May 2014.
In 1963 Brighton, out-of-work skiffle player Francis Henshall becomes separately employed by two men – Roscoe Crabbe, a gangster, and Stanley Stubbers, an upper class twit. Francis tries to keep the two from meeting, in order to avoid each of them learning that Francis is also working for someone else. Complicating events, Roscoe is really Rachel Crabbe in disguise, his twin sister. Roscoe had been killed by Rachel's boyfriend, who is none other than Stanley. Complicating it further still is local mobster Charlie the Duck, who has arranged his daughter Pauline's engagement to Roscoe despite her preference for over-the-top amateur actor Alan Dangle. Even further complications are prompted by several letters, a very heavy trunk, several unlucky audience volunteers, an extremely elderly waiter and Francis' pursuit of his two passions: Dolly (Charlie's feminist bookkeeper) and fish & chips.
The play premiered at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre from 24 May 2011 (previews from 17 May) and continued until 19 September. Nicholas Hytner directed James Corden in the starring role of Francis Henshall, with associate director Cal McCrystal responsible for the physical comedy. The play contains songs written by and performed by "The Craze", in a "skiffle band" style, led by Grant Olding. "The Craze" consisted of Grant Olding (lead vocals, guitar, keys, accordion, harmonica), Philip James (guitar, banjo, backing vocals), Richard Coughlan (double bass, electric bass, backing vocals) and Ben Brooker (percussion including washboard and spoons, drums, backing vocals). The music is written and composed by Grant Olding.
Following its engagement at the National in London, the play began its first national tour of UK prior to a West End engagement in the Autumn. Stops included Aylesbury Waterside Theatre (27 September–1 October), Plymouth Theatre Royal (4–8 October), The Lowry, Salford (11–15 October), Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre (18–22 October) and the King's Theatre in Edinburgh (25–29 October).
The show then made its West End debut at the Adelphi Theatre, with Corden still in the lead role. Previews began 8 November 2011, ahead of an opening night of 21 November. The run ended 25 February 2012 and subsequently transferred to the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 2 March 2012, with Corden's role being taken over by his first cover Owain Arthur.
Beginning performances 4 February 2013, Rufus Hound took over the title role, with Arthur returning to the role on 23 September 2013 after his run with the tour. Other replacements throughout the run would include Hugh Sachs as Harry Dangle, Angela Griffin as Dolly and Kellie Shirley as Pauline, reprising her role from the tour.
The London production concluded a three-year run on 1 March 2014. This came with the announcement that the show would return to tour the UK for a third time.
The play then premiered on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre with an opening night of 18 April 2012, following previews from 6 April. James Corden reprised the role for American audiences.
The production received four nominations for the Outer Critics Circle Award: Outstanding New Broadway Play, Nicholas Hytner (Outstanding Director of a Play), James Corden (Outstanding Actor in a Play) and Tom Edden (Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play). Tom Edden went on to win the Outer Critics Circle Award for 'Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play.'
For the 66th Annual Tony Awards in 2012, the play received seven nominations: James Corden for Best Actor in a Play, Tom Edden for Best Featured Actor in a Play, Nicholas Hytner for Best Direction of a Play, Grant Olding for Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater, Mark Thompson for both Best Scenic Design of a Play and Best Costume Design of a Play and Paul Arditti for Best Sound Design of a Play. James Corden went on to win his Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play.
The limited engagement concluded 2 September 2012.
A second UK touring production starring comedian Rufus Hound in the lead role, began 25 October 2012 at Curve in Leicester, on a run through 4 November. It then visited Theatre Royal, Newcastle (6–10 Nov), Glasgow Theatre Royal (13–17 Nov), Belfast Grand Opera (20–24 Nov), Blackpool Grand (27 Nov–1 Dec), Norwich Theatre Royal (4–8 Dec), Leeds Grand Theatre (11–15 Dec), Llandudno, Venue Cymru (2–5 Jan 2013), Salford The Lowry (8–19 Jan) and Cardiff Wales Millennium Centre (22–26 Jan), before ending with a run at Theatre Royal in Nottingham (29 Jan–2 Feb). Richie Hart, Philip Murray Warson, Oliver Seymour Marsh and Billy Stookes formed "The Craze" for this tour.
Following the second run of the UK, the production continued to tour to other countries from 25 February until 29 June 2013. Debuting at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in Hong Kong as part of the annual Hong Kong Arts Festival, the tour subsequently visited Her Majesty's Theatre in Adelaide, Australia, The Aotea Centre in Auckland, New Zealand, The Sydney Theatre in Sydney, Australia, before culminating at the Playhouse in Melbourne, Australia. Owain Arthur lead this cast, with his role in the London production being taken over by Rufus Hound.
Beginning performances 14 May 2014 at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield, One Man embarked on its third national tour of the UK. The final performance was in Wolverhampton on 21 March 2015.
An Actor-Musician adaptation on the play featuring popular music of the 1960s began in June 2017 for a residence at Eastbourne's Devonshire Park Theatre. The final performance was on 22 July 2017.
|Character||National Theatre||2011 UK Tour||West End (Adelphi)||Broadway||West End (Haymarket)||2012/13 UK and International Tour||2014/15 Tour||2017 Eastbourne|
|Francis Henshall||James Corden||Owain Arthur||Rufus Hound
Owain Arthur (Llandudno, Cardiff and International Tour)
|Gavin Spokes||Aidan O'Neill|
|Stanley Stubbers||Oliver Chris||Ben Mansfield||Edward Bennett||Patrick Warner||Dylan Turner|
|Rachel Crabbe||Jemima Rooper||Gemma Whelan||Amy Cudden||Alicia Davies||Ruth Westley|
|Dolly||Suzie Toase||Jodie Prenger||Amy Booth-Steel
Jodie Prenger (Blackpool and Salford)
|Emma Barton||Jessica Warbeck|
|Charlie Clench||Fred Ridgeway||Gerard Horan||Colin Mace||Shaun Williamson
Norman Pace (Oct – Jan only)
|Pauline Clench||Claire Lams||Hannah Spearritt||Kellie Shirley||Jasmyn Banks||Celeste Collier|
|Alan Dangle||Daniel Rigby||Daniel Ings||Leon Williams||Edward Hancock||George Jennings|
|Harry Dangle||Martyn Ellis||Nigel Betts||Nick Caveliere||David Verrey||Matt Devitt|
|Lloyd Boateng||Trevor Laird||Derek Elroy||Mark Monero||Derek Elroy||Trevor Michael Georges|
|Alfie||Tom Edden||Martin Barrass||Peter Caulfield and Mark Jackson||Michael Dylan||Peter Lovstrom|
|Gareth||David Benson||Ben Livingston||David Benson||Matthew Woodyatt||Eliot Harper||Callum Hughes|
On 15 September 2011, the production was broadcast to cinemas around the world as a part of the British National Theatre Live program.
This recording was made available on YouTube for one week starting 2 April 2020, as the opening production of National Theatre at Home – a series of free broadcasts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was watched by around 2,5 million viewers.
The play is also available to stream on Drama Online (with subscription).
One Man, Two Guvnors received widespread critical acclaim. The Guardian gave it 5 stars, saying that it was "A triumph of visual and verbal comedy. One of the funniest productions in the National's history." The Daily Telegraph described it as "the feelgood hit of the Summer." The Independent wrote that it is a "massive hit" and London's Evening Standard as "a surefire hit". Blogging site Everything Theatre described it as "one of the most side-splittingly hilarious productions ever to be staged in London".
The show won Best Play at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards for 2011.
|2012||Tony Award||Best Original Score||Grant Olding||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play||James Corden||Won|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play||Tom Edden||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Play||Nicholas Hytner||Nominated|
|Best Scenic Design in a Play||Mark Thompson||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design in a Play||Nominated|
|Best Sound Design in a Play||Paul Arditti||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Music in a Play||Grant Olding||Won|
|Outstanding Actor in a Play||James Corden||Won|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||Tom Edden||Won|
|Outer Critics Circle||Outstanding New Broadway Play||Won|
|Outstanding Actor in a Play||James Corden||Won|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play||Tom Edden||Nominated|
|Outstanding Director of a Play||Nicholas Hytner||Won|
|Drama League Award||Distinguished Production of a Play||Nominated|