REVIEW: One Man, Two Guvnors – New Vic – Newcastle-under-Lyme


The New Vic Theatre has hit the comedic jackpot with its staging of Richard Bean’s uproarious masterpiece, “One Man, Two Guvnors”. Directed by Conrad Nelson, this production delivers a riotous romp through 1960s Brighton, filled to the brim with impeccable performances, ingenious staging, and a whirlwind of hilarity that leaves audiences in stitches. This rare in-the-round staging adds an extra layer of intimacy to the experience, immersing the audience in the bustling streets of 1960s Brighton and allowing them to become active participants in the absurd antics unfolding before them.

Under the expert direction of Conrad Nelson, the cast delivers a tour de force performance, with each member bringing their A-game to the stage. At the heart of the mayhem is the irrepressible Francis Henshall, played with boundless charm and infectious energy by the incomparable Michael Hugo. Hugo’s portrayal is a masterclass in physical comedy and comic timing, as he navigates Francis’s misadventures with the finesse of a seasoned performer.

The chemistry between the cast is electric, with standout performances abound. Gareth Cooper shines as the suave and mysterious Stanley Stubbers, while Howard Chadwick imbues Charlie Clench with a perfect blend of bluster and buffoonery. Thomas Cotran brings a hapless charm to the role of Alan Dangle, while Jessica Dyas sizzles as the fiery Dolly, commanding the stage with her sharp wit and impeccable timing.

Lucinda Freeburn is captivating as the enigmatic Rachel Crabbe, her presence adding an extra layer of intrigue to the proceedings. Nick Haverson steals the show as the lovably dimwitted Alfie, eliciting uproarious laughter with every bumbling misstep. Alyce Liburd imbues Pauline with a sweet yet determined spirit, while Jonathan Markwood and Daniel Miles revel in their roles as the bumbling Harry Dangle and the suave Gareth, respectively. Declan Wilson delivers some scene-stealers as the formidable Lloyd Boateng, his commanding presence and impeccable comic timing leaving a lasting impression. Together, this ensemble cast creates a whirlwind of hilarity that leaves the audience breathless with laughter.

The genius of “One Man, Two Guvnors” lies not only in its stellar cast but also in its impeccable craftsmanship. Lis Evans’s set design is a marvel of ingenuity, seamlessly transforming the stage into the various areas of Brighton. It never ceases to amaze me how versatile this space is and it fills me with joy each time I get the opportunity to how it’s been used.

Daniella Beattie’s dynamic lighting design adds depth and dimension to the production, while Simon Deacon’s immersive soundscapes transport the audience into the heart of the action. Rebekah Hughes’s musical direction infuses the production with infectious energy, with live music punctuating the action and allowing smooth scene changes.

Under Nelson’s deft direction, the pace never falters, with the action unfolding seamlessly from one uproarious moment to the next. Beverley Norris-Edmunds’s inspired movement direction and choreography add an extra layer of physical comedy, ensuring that every slapstick moment lands with precision and panache.

While the script itself is a masterclass in wit and wordplay, there are moments where the narrative feels slightly sluggish, and some asides may not land as clearly as intended. However, these minor quibbles are easily overshadowed by the sheer exuberance and comedic brilliance of the ensemble.

In conclusion, “One Man, Two Guvnors” at the New Vic Theatre is an absolute triumph—a joyous celebration of laughter, love, and the absurdities of life. With its stellar cast, ingenious staging, and non-stop hilarity, this production is not to be missed. Prepare to be thoroughly entertained and leave with a smile plastered on your face—a testament to the enduring power of great comedy done exceptionally well.

One Man, Two Guvnors plays at the New Vic until 11th May 2024. Tickets available here.

Photography throughout from Andrew Billington.






One response to “REVIEW: One Man, Two Guvnors – New Vic – Newcastle-under-Lyme”

  1. Ian Jenkinson avatar
    Ian Jenkinson

    The slapstick is excellent everyone roared with laughter, especially when anticipating the waiter’s next fall into the stage-pit; spectacular. Just when you think no new variation is possible, another appears even better than the first. The skiffle music evokes another era, as do costumes, but the dialogue is bang-up-to-date. A great evening out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *