THERE are certainly plenty of laughs in this ingenious farcical comedy that manages to make a perfectly staged play look spontaneous and silly.
Richard Bean’s comedy, which is based on an old commedia dell’Arte piece by Carlo Goldoni, has been a huge hit in the West End and on Broadway.
Set in the criminal underworld of Brighton in 1963, Gavin Spokes is fantastic as the bungling Francis Henshall, who ends up working for two different bosses - Rachel Crabbe, disguised as her recently murdered twin brother Roscoe, and her boyfriend and brother’s killer Stanley Stubbers.
Spokes manages to pull off the role fantastically, even when he slips out of character for asides to the audience.
All of the cast play their parts brilliantly.
Edward Hancock hams it up brilliantly as wannabe actor Alan Dangle, Jasmyn Banks is perfect as the ditsy Pauline Clench and Patrick Warner has some hilarious lines as posh public schoolboy criminal Stubbers.
Michael Dylan as doddery old waiter Alfie is a star. With some fantastic physical comedy and some great one-liners, he really steals the show.
The play builds to a hilarious scene at the end of the first half, which had the audience guffawing and gasping. The pace slows a little in the second half but there are still some great moments to keep the good feeling going.
The addition of catchy interludes from skiffle band The Craze, with various cast members joining them at points to play a xylophone, a steel drum and a human body, works wonderfully well.
A real must see.
* One Man, Two Guvnors is at the Mayflower until Saturday. Tickets and information at mayflower.org.uk or call 02380 711811.