Well, could it live up to all the hype? This play by Richard Bean, adapted from an eighteenth century play by Carl Goldoni ‘s The Servant of Two Masters has won all the accolades and awards going from its original production by Nicholas Hytner starring James Corden as the hapless Francis Henshall . Since then , it has gone on to be perforned to West End audiences, Broadway and touring audiences all over. The NT production at Cardiff’s New Theatre played to sell out audiences last week.with Gavin Stokes in the main role. To try to summarise the play would be pointless; it’s incidental to the stage business, the witty and topical script( they managed to get a reference to Fifty Shades in last Saturday) the terrific performances of the whole ensemble cast and the ‘improv’ which reduced the audience to hoots of laughter.
With 60s music provided by The Craze( my two friends thought that was spelt The Krays), the whole production could not have been any better. What a shame it is that the New Theatre isn’t a more comfortable place to watch a play. High prices in no way ensure a good seat with good visibility. I was stuck behind a Man Mountain and his companion a Woman Mountain, both of whom had yards of frizzy hair so I spent most pf my time cosying up to the woman on my right and trying to see around them. When the Man Mountain stood up at the interval, I had the full benefit of his enormous backside ( his jeans were at half mast so I got more flesh than I bargained for) right in my face which did spoil my icecream somewhat.
Even so, this play must rank as one of the funniest you can see in theatres alongside “Noises Off” and “The 39 Steps.”