Written by Richard Bean and directed by Vanessa Jensen, One Man, Two Guvnors is based on the most famous of Carlo Goldoni’s works, A Servant of Two Masters, originally written in the 1740s.
In this modern take on the tale, first staged in 2011, one man in the British seaside town of Brighton serves two criminal bosses and has to keep them apart – while desperate for food and trying to woo a woman at the same time.
“You have to take the big set, big effects and big budget and put them on a small stage with a not-so-big budget.
“And there’s the whole James Corden thing – the host of The Late Late Show and Carpool Karaoke played the lead in the original National Theatre production, as well as the West End and Broadway, which are big shoes to fill.
“Luckily, I have the phenomenal Chris Bedding to fill those shoes, after James did not answer my calls, so I’m happy.”
First appearing on stage as an eight-year-old and directing her first show at 14, Jensen has a wealth of theatre experience behind her.
She wrote, directed, stage managed and acted in various shows at Curtin University’s Hayman Theatre over a four-year period and has staged several successful productions at the Old Mill and Melville Theatres, including The Venetian Twins, Emma, Three Tall Women, Pride and Prejudice, Away, Amadeus and her own award-winning script Jamie’s Chooks.
Away won Jensen the Constance Ord Award for directing at the 2010 Milly Awards and she also received a best director nomination at the annual Finley Awards for Amadeus in 2011 and Love, Loss and What I Wore in 2015.
Awards continued in 2013 and 2014 when her productions of Rabbit Hole and Twelve Angry Men at Melville Theatre both won best play at the Finley Awards – the latter also scored her the Susan Hayward Award for Best Director.
Jensen’s inspiration to direct One Man, Two Guvnors stemmed from her 2008 production of The Venetian Twins, another modern adaptation of a Goldoni play.
“I had an absolute blast doing it,” she said. “The rehearsal process was great fun and the audiences loved it.
“The play is loosely based on commedia dell’arte, via the Goldoni version, and it’s a genre of theatre that fascinates me which added to the appeal of directing the show.”
One Man, Two Guvnors plays at 8pm November 25, 26, December 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10 with a 2pm matinee December 4. Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book on 9330 4565 or at www.meltheco.org.au.
Melville Theatre is on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra.