Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast

One Man, Two Guvnors
Florida Studio Theatre
Review by William S. Oser | Season Schedule

Also see Bill's reviews of The Actor's Nightmare/The Real Inspector Hound and West Side Story

Conner Carew
Photo by Matthew Holler
Florida Studio Theatre opens its Winter Mainstage Series with One Man, Two Guvnors by Richard Bean, with songs by Grant Olding, an adaptation of Carlo Goldoni's classic farce Servant of Two Masters. Bean has reset the action to Brighton, England, 1963. Lots of period references enliven the script, particularly jabs at The Beatles and people who were associated with them before they became international superstars. The period offers the opportunity for giddy costuming of the period, producing some groans from those of us who lived through the era. The play is an excellent re-imagining when the original would probably not play well to modern audiences.

The plot is so convoluted that there is no point in trying to outline it. There are multiple pairs of lovers, mismatched for much of the action until Francis Henshall, the "one man" of the title helps get things sorted out. Connor Carew affably plays Francis, who is mostly focused on keeping himself fed and above the chaos. Christina King as Pauline and Tommy Crawford as Alan Dangle are one pair of lovers. He is a way over the top wannabe actor and she is a blonde of no particular intelligence, but they love each other. Mr. Crawford also does double duty as a member of the Band who entertain before, during, and after the show with songs that comment on the action. Amy Hutchins as Rachel Crabbe and Montgomery Sutton as Stanley Stubbers are the second pair. Teddy Yudain offers much of the strongest hilarity as Alfie, a very old waiter, also doubling in the band. Others contributing to the merriment include Vanessa Morosco as Dolly, Wilbur Edwin Henry as Charlie "The Duck" Clench, and Cat Patterson as a member of the ensemble who has a funny sequence just prior to the end of act one.

The production, directed by Joseph Discher, is funny, just not as funny as it could be if the acting were sharper. There are some broad comedy sequences for Francis Henshall which have to have room for improvisation and to breathe, but most of the script is classic farce, doors opening as others are closing, people narrowly missing each other, and general mayhem, which needs razor sharp pacing. Scenic designs by Moriah and Isabel Curley-Clay are excellent, although Brighton is never clearly delineated. Costumes by Tristan Raines are among the production's strongest assets, perfectly displaying the excesses of the era. Lighting by Micheal Foster is excellent.

Note: I was lucky enough to get the chance to revisit this fantastic production of West Side Story on December 2, 2015. Not quite halfway through the run the production looks just as crisp as it did on opening weekend. The dancing is still sharp and brilliantly executed, and everything I loved about it the first time is just as good the second time around. One thing I noticed in greater detail this time was how brilliant the lighting design by Brian Nason is, adding emotional shading to so many moments in the show. Do not miss West Side Story. I doubt this area will see a production this fine in what is left of my lifetime.

Florida Studio Theatre presents One Man, Two Guvnors through January 10, 2016, at the Gompertz Theater 1241 N. Palm Avenue, Sarasota. For tickets and performance information, please call the box office at (941) 366-9000 or visit

Cast (in order of appearance):
Charlie "The Duck" Clench: Wilbur Edwin-Henry*
Pauline, his daughter: Christina King*
Harry Dangle, Charlie's solicitor: Andy Prosky*
Alan Dangle, his son: Tommy Crawford*
Dolly, Charlie's bookkeeper: Vanessa Morosco*
Lloyd Boateng, Charlie's friend: Lawrence Evans*,br>Francis Henshall: Connor Carew*,br>Rachel Crabbe: Amy Hutchins*
Stanley Stubbers: Montgomery Sutton*
Gareth, a head waiter: Zach Shotwell
Alfie, a waiter: Teddy Yudain*
Ensemble: Alison Campbell, Trevor Catalano, T.J. Patrick, Cat Patterson
*=Member of Actor's Equity Association

Percussion: Tony Bruno
Rhythm Guitar, Accordion: Tommy Crawford*,br>Bass: Sean Tillis, Rhythm Guitar: Teddy Yudain*
Lead Guitar: James Zap

Directed by Joseph Discher
Music Director: Darren Server
Scenic Designers: Moriah & Isabel Curley-Clay
Costume Designer: Tristan Raines
Lighting Designer: Micheal Foster
Sound Designer: Ryan Kilcourse
Physical Comedy Consultant: richard Crawford
Stage Manager: Roy Johns*

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