When Kyle Kushnir first read the script for One Man, Two Guvnors, he burst out laughing.
It was a hilarious read, he recalls, which doesn’t always happen when an actor first looks at a script. But the writing flew off the page, making Kushnir want to audition for the role of Francis Hershall in Langham Court Theatre’s latest production, One Man, Two Guvnors.
“From beginning to end, it’s a lot of fun. It’s really high energy,” said Kushnir, adding the production also features a local four-piece skiffle band, The Salty Quips, that provide the music for a chaotic chase, along with other scenes throughout the production.
“It’ll be the best time you’ll ever have.”
Set in the 1960s Brighton, the British farce is a madcap tale of a man (Francis) who is fired from his skiffle band. In need of employment, he becomes minder to a gangland thug, Roscoe Crabbe — or so he thinks.
But Roscoe is really Rachel, posing as her dead brother, who in fact has been killed by her boyfriend, the upper-class and casually violent Stanley Stubbers.
Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket and also takes a job with Stubbers, but he must keep his two guvnors apart in order to prevent discovery.
Written by Richard Bean, One Man, Two Guvnors was nominated for seven Tony Awards and received rave reviews on both the West End and Broadway. James Cordon, known for carpool karaoke, won the 2012 Tony for best actor in the production.
Kushnir describes Francis as a bit of a trickster, but a soft guy all around. He finds himself in the situation of having two guvnors simply because he wants to eat.
“He is so loveable and he just wants to do things right,” said Kushnir. “He wants to get the girl, get the food and that’s it. It’s really simple for him. There’s nothing complicated.”
According to director Roger Carr, the play is very much slap stick comedy that involves many physical components as well. Carr just finished working on Spamalot and said comedy is much harder than straight drama, but the cast of 11 actors have risen to the challenge.
“It’s all about the timing and the sense of what your relationship is with the audience, which is always a flexible thing,” said Carr. “It’s not just words, it’s people doing this with their bodies, interacting…it’s a very funny play.”
One Man, Two Guvnors takes place from Jan. 18 to Feb. 4. For tickets and more information visit langhamtheatre.ca.