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Review Roundup: Broadway-Bound ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS

Opening last night at West End's Adelphi Theatre was Nicholas Hytner's five star award-winning production of One Man, Two Guvnors. After a sell-out run at The National Theatre, subsequent UK tour and National Theatre Live cinema broadcast, One Man, Two Guvnors is currently booking until 25 February 2012. 

Richard Bean's adaptation, based on by Carlo Goldoni ‘sThe Servant of Two Masters, with songs by Grant Olding, opened at the Lyttelton at The National Theatre in May this year. At last night's ceremony, Bean received the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Play for One Man, Two Guvnors and The Heretic.

A Broadway production of One Man, Two Guvnors will preview at the Music Box Theatre on 6 April 2012, with opening night 18 April 2012, with James Corden leading the cast.

Charles Spencer, Telegraph: In the play’s greatest scene, one of the most hilarious I have ever seen in a theatre, he simultaneously serves dinner to his two guvnors while reserving large quantities of food for himself, aided and abetted by an ancient and doddery waiter (the sublimely comical Tom Edden) who keeps falling down the stairs, and a member of the audience who suffers no end of humiliations. If you don’t laugh at this scene it can only be because you have already expired with mirth at the show’s previous gags.

Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard: Corden is superb as Francis Henshall, the gluttonous opportunist who finds himself in the employ of two small-time gangsters. Desperate to keep his paymasters apart, and eager all the while to satisfy his hunger, he's a winningly hapless character, and Corden delights in Francis's efforts to sustain his pretence of having only one boss. He's charismatic, genial and wonderfully energetic, developing a lovely rapport with the audience - and easily capable of handling the at times bizarre situations that come about when some of them are called on to participate in his tomfoolery.

Michael Billington, Guardian: But the mixture of improvisation with immaculate planning is perfectly exemplified by James Corden's brilliant Francis. Last night, having invited two members of the audience on stage to help move a trunk, he found himself coping with a slightly recalcitrant couple. And, when he begged a sandwich from the front rows, someone unexpectedly threw a pack of pork pies at him. Without losing his cool, Corden turned to the rest of us in mock-despair and cried "have the first three rows come in a special bus tonight?" And it is precisely that air of spontaneity that keeps the show fresh.

Michael Coveny, Whatsonstge: The playing, and the discipline, remains of a very high standard, even if the laughter quotient dips after the interval, partly because the famous double-dealing dinner scene, complete with Tom Edden’s fantastically hilarious decrepit old falling-down-stairs waiter, is the show’s climax, at the end of the first act; and partly because there’s a plot to sort out in the second.

Sarah Hemming, Financial Times: But this is no one-man show. The fine cast creates a gallery of disastrous, yet lovable characters, from Daniel Rigby’s ridiculous would-be actor, to Suzie Toase’s minxy secretary and Oliver Chris’s superb, Teflon-coated toff. Laced with skiffle music, this show is a tonic for a gloomy winter.

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