A play in the commedia dell’arte tradition of Italy from the 1700s, featuring stock characters in uncomfortable situations, is now on Broadway. But the production is not full of powdered wigs and arcane syntax. The original play, Carlo Goldini’s Il servitore di due padroni (The Servant of Two Masters), has been adapted by Richard Bean and turned into One Man, Two Guvnors, set in the British resort town of Brighton in the 1960s.
A hit in London, the show has been transported to the Music Box Theater in New York and stars James Corden. It’s directed by two-time Tony winner Nicholas Hytner, and the credits even include a "physical comedy director." There’s an onstage music ensemble, too, but this evening on Broadway isn’t a musical.
Charles Isherwood, theater critic for The New York Times, joins Jeff Spurgeon to give one man's take on One Man, Two Guvnors and if this new British interpretation of an old Italian play, with pratfalls and a band, works.