‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Beit Lessin)
British comedy, at least the best kind of British comedy – and Two Guvnors is
such – is all about tone and timing.
Without these, what remains is
clunk, not comedy. This production of Two Guvnors doesn’t miss a tasteless
trick, bestowing a whole new meaning on “vulgar.”
Bean’s version, set in
Brighton, is adapted from Carlo Goldoni’s (1707-93) The Servant of Two Masters
in which ever-hungry servant Truffaldino contracts himself to two masters to be
assured of a square meal. His efforts to keep the two ignorant of each other
pile near-disaster on almost-catastrophe until the Happy End.
wrote his comedy in commedia style. The largely improvisational commedia del
arte exploded from the Renaissance.
Bean sites his comedy in the Swinging
Sixties when the UK, London and music in particular exploded from the shabbiness
and austerity of the post-World War II years.
Here the servant is one
Francis (Eli Yatzpan). Master No. 1 is petty gangster Rosco Crabbe (Dikla
Hadar), who’s actually Rachel dressed up as her brother, whom her lover Stanley
Stubbers (Yuval Segal), and Master No. 2, has killed, so is in Brighton to evade
the cops, but Rachel/Rosco has also arrived to collect a debt from Charlie
(Shlomo Mimran), whose blond bimbo daughter Pauline (Maya Bachowski), thinking
former-fiance Rosco dead, is engaged to wannabe actor Dick Dangle (Shlomi
Add an ancient, coordinationally-challenged waiter Alfi (Erez
Weiss) to the mix and the pratfall possibilities go up a notch.
the rubber-limbed Weiss provides a needed bit of genuine hilarity to the
three-week-long hour-and-45-minute show. Yatzpan provides the other in the two
(over-extended) audience interaction improvisations in the show.
rest, nobody, including Yatzpan, seems to be having much fun. The actors don’t
speak so much as recite their text.
It flows from them without much
variation in tone or pitch and without much change in pace or rhythm.
show is redeemed in part by Orna Smorgonsky’s period- perfect and dazzling
costumes, but its music provides the true high spots.
The songs, Daniel
Efrat’s translations, and the quartet performing them are superb. The quartet is
Noam Pinhasov, Arnon Siev, Omri Shani and Yuval Adam. The bouquet please!