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Runaway Hit Added to Berkeley Rep’s Compelling Season

Monday Apr 14, 2014

Today Berkeley Repertory Theatre is proud to announce that it has added Richard Bean's internationally acclaimed smash hit "One Man, Two Guvnors" to its captivating collection of shows for the 2014-15 season. "One Man, Two Guvnors" is more than a sassy update of Carlo Goldoni's classic knee-slapper, "A Servant of Two Masters."

Set in 1960's Brighton, England, it's a brilliantly delicious mash-up of splendid comedy, British pantomime, and music-hall revues. The uproarious plot features a disarming and doltish Francis Henshall who finds himself trapped by farce into working for two bosses - who are connected in wildly improbable ways. He just has to keep them from discovering each other.

Inspired insanity, high-low antics, and nimble wordplay ensue - all backed by live musicians paying homage to rockabilly and a certain Fab Four. Directed by David Ivers - artistic director of the Utah Shakespeare Festival - "One Man, Two Guvnors" is a riotous blast complete with a colorful cast of characters in a topsy-turvy world of love triangles and mistaken identities. It previews on Friday May 8, 2015, opens on May 15, 2015, and plays through Sunday June 21, 2015. The Theatre will announce one more subscription season production in the coming weeks.

"We're delighted to add 'One Man, Two Guvnors' to the 2014-15 subscription season," says Michael Leibert Artistic Director Tony Taccone. "In the true spirit of commedia dell'arte, the play is a cheeky laugh-out-loud mix of satire, live music, slapstick, and unforgettable one-liners driven by a cast of memorable characters. The play is also a great complement to the five very diverse plays already announced. We look forward to sharing this brilliantly funny production with our audience."

Since it originated at the National Theatre of Great Britain in 2011, "One Man, Two Guvnors" has received effusive praise."[An] inspired adaptation .... The language is fueled by a logic that is as irrefutable as it is silly... It gleefully skewers the tortured metaphors of lovers' flights of fancy and traffics unapologetically in the childish, tongue-twisting pleasures of alliteration,"raves the New York Times.

"Ingenious... Unlike many farces, this one is also verbally funny. Bean's script is full of good gags... The show, in short, is a tonic which confirms Eric Bentley's point that farce is the quintessence of theatre and which combines a tightly-written text with the gaiety of popular entertainment. I suspect you would had to have had a humour by-pass not to enjoy it," proclaims the London Guardian.

"Gut-busting... Amusing original songs by Grant Olding suggest the legacy of British music hall, and cast members take part during scene changes in variety-act interludes, providing accompaniment on xylophone, kettle drums, claxons...while at the same time evoking the unmistakable feel of early '60s England," writes the Hollywood Reporter.

A former psychologist and stand-up comedian, playwright Richard Bean became the first writer to win the Evening Standard Award for Best Play for two plays: The Heretic and One Man, Two Guvnors. Bean was also awarded the 2011 Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Play and the 2012 Whatsonstage.com Award for Best New Comedy. The New York production of One Man, Two Guvnors was awarded the 2012 Outer Critics' Circle Award for Outstanding New Broadway Play.

David Ivers is the artistic director of the Utah Shakespeare Festival and recently finished his ninth season as a resident artist at the Denver Center Theatre Company. A few of the many theatre companies he has worked with include Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and American Conservatory Theater.


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