Fullerton College Theatre Arts department pulled off an exceptional performance of Richard Bean’s “One Man Two Guvnors” on Saturday, Oct. 14 at the FC Campus Theatre.
The show embodied innuendoes, one-liners, improvisation, false identities, a secret love, audience participation and nonetheless musical performances by The Craze. This is all a part of Richard Bean’s “One Man, Two Guvnors” which opened this past weekend at Fullerton College.
The play is an English adaptation of the classic comedy “Servants of Two Masters” that sets in Brighton in the 1960s.
Brandon Burns, who stars as Francis Henshall, is the ‘one man’ who finds himself working for two guvnors: Stanley Stubbers (Matthew Mullin) and recently deceasd Roscoe Crabbe who is actually Rachel Crabbe, Roscoes twin sister in disguise (Emily Abeles). Stanley is Rachel’s lover and is actually the one who holds responsibility behind Rachel’s twin brother’s death.
If this all sounds complex, it’s because it is.
However, understanding the plot of the story was hardly essential for enjoying the show. The blue humor that bounced off the walls of the theatre was more than enough.
It was also easy to forget the plot when old waiters were being thrown down the stairs, people being punched in the groin, actors delivering lines with their pants to their ankles and monologues that had you clenching your seat.
“My concept was to bring some humor into the current situations that are existing in today, whether it be the violence in Las Vegas, the fires, or the anything that people are going through these days. We just need a little comedy.” said Timothy Espinosa, the show’s director.
“It is nice to give the audience two and a half hours of just laughs.”
As Francis Henshall takes to his misadventures, his number one task was to keep his ‘two guvnors’ from encountering each other all the while an uncanny love triangle was taking place: Francis and Pauline (Rahcel Bailey), Roscoe and Rachel, and Alan Dangle the unwittingly aspiring actor (Giovanni Arganaraz) with Dolly (Camille Chartier).
As each scene played out, the end of each act brought down the curtains and the audience got to enjoy classic numbers performed by The Craze. The band was dressed in their appropriate fitted suits to help resemble the 1960s. The use of only the washboard, guitar, bass and drums added a great touch.
Unlike most plays, “One Man, Two Guvnors” had a great amount of audience interaction. Henshall in particular was the one communicating with the audience. Whenever he found himself in a situation he would go to the audience to vent and yell out “shit!” to express his frustration and the audience loved it.
“I’m very much like him in normal day life,” Burns said when asked about getting into the character of Henshall. “His movement on stage and the way he carries himself is very much me, so getting to hyper exaggerate everything about that with the jokes and all was amazing.”
Espinosa praised Burns’ performance, saying that very few people are able to pull off a character of this magnitude, but he delivered it 110 percent.
The constant movement of the show and the adult humor is what kept the audience alive. The show had its moments that dragged, but it never lasted long.
With the visual representation of what the 1960s in England looked like and having each role and scene well played, “One Man, Two Guvnors” was without a doubt entertaining.
“They all came with such professionalism, I was able to create the pictures and they were able to take the impulses and fill in the blanks,” said Espinosa, praising the cast’s performance.
“It has been an emotional high the past three nights, so it’s [ending is] bittersweet.”