The hysterical West End and Broadway smash hit, One Man, Two Guvnors, presented by The Camberwell Grammarians’ Theatre Company, comes to Middleton Theatre, Camberwell Grammar School early next month.
This British comedy tour de force is written by Richard Bean and adapted from Carlo Goldoni’s 18th-century Italian commedia dell’ arte piece, The Servant of Two Masters.
Actor Sam Marzden plays the hapless but resourceful Francis Henshall, the one man from the title, who finds himself with two guvnors – again, from the title – that he must keep apart. Simple, right?
“My character is a musician (professional washboard player) who lives out every performer’s wildest dreams by head butting a heckler whilst busking,” says Marzden of Francis Henshall. “This leads to a job as a bodyguard for a suspiciously pretty small time gangster. His endless pursuit for food, sex and money lands him a job with a second boss. Now he has to keep his two boss’s (‘guvnors’ if you will) separate from each other. This leads to suicide attempts, disruptions of romantic engagements and me getting more comical injuries than professional wrestler.”
The show is refreshing slapstick farce and, says Marzden, is set in the unfashionable end of the 1960s in the unfashionable end of Britain, yet somehow manages to be cool.
“It takes you back to a time when being hospitalised or permanently disfigured by a criminal was a fun, jolly experience that you could write a jaunty song about to be sung down the pub. It’s based on a two hundred year old Italian comedy, so if the story has lasted this long you know it has to be good. It’s filled with murders, perverts, thieves and scumbags who all manage to be funny and loveable. I think it’s the cockney accents that make every seem more fun. Just be glad we’re not doing this with Australian accents. That would be a harrowing theatre experience.”
Marzden believes the show once got voted the funniest show on Broadway which would be hard to refute given its rave reviews. It is a broad farce with bawdy humour and, says, Marzden this production has some of the funniest actors he’s seen, working with the best material out there.
“I’m supposed to say it’s for people who enjoy commedia dell’arte, door banging farce, Carry On films and Benny Hill but that would drastically reduce our ticket sales. But if you like Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, the loveable ultra-violence of the Kray Twins and seeing an overweight but sharply dressed actor suffering severe groin trauma on stage, you’ll love this. It has brilliant dialogue, fast paced comedy, loveable characters, superb comic acting, groovy costumes and a great story.”
CGTC is a relatively new kid on the theatre block but already have proven themselves a force to be reckoned with. It was established by Adam Porrett and Ben Giraud in June 2014, and since then has staged productions such as “Black Comedy” (2014) and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” (2015), for which it was recognised at the MGTV and Lyrebird Awards as Best Ensemble for that year, as well as receiving a number of nominations. Most recently, CGTC’s production of “Spelling Bee” was transferred to the Southbank Theatre as part of Vic Theatre Company’s 2016 season.
CGTC aims to be a vehicle for Old Boys of Camberwell Grammar to further their involvement in theatre after they finish school, as well as including talented and passionate theatre people from throughout the community to stage high-quality amateur plays and musicals for all to enjoy.
So a highly lauded, side-splitting play is brought to you by an award winning theatre company – a match made in theatre heaven! Says Marzden: ” It’s $25, the theatre is really nice and we’ve got some of the best comedy actors in Melbourne performing in this highly praised show. And if you’re like 100% of my friends who get very upset if you go to the theatre and there isn’t a song every 3 minutes – we’ve got songs too! There’s a live band on stage and the cast sing brilliantly cool songs in-between every scene change. This show has everything!”
July 6 – 9