ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS Review

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Matthew Lewis Johnson as Francis Henshall. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Matthew Lewis Johnson as Francis Henshall. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company through July 5. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.

Cincy Shakes closes out their very strong 2014-2015 season with this outrageous and funny farce.

Matthew Lewis Johnson returns to the CSC stage in the role of Francis Henshall, the titular “one man.” Johnson does well in making Henshall a lovable buffoon. He has great comic-timing and builds a fun rapport with the audience. I enjoyed the high energy and the physicality he brought to the character. I wouldn’t have minded seeing the character a bit more grounded and perhaps, literally eating the scenery may have been pushing a bit. 🙂

Cary Davenport as Alan Dangle & Courtney Lucien as Pauline Clench. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Cary Davenport as Alan Dangle & Courtney Lucien as Pauline Clench. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Also turning in a great comic character is Jeremy Dubin as poor, mistreated Alfie. Visually, I immediately thought of Tim Conway’s classic “old man” character, but Dubin gives Alfie a great personality of his own.

Other favorites included Carry Davenport as wanna-be actor Alan Dangle, (who does double-duty as a leading member of the show’s house-band, The Shakes), Courtney Lucien as his clueless fiance Pauline Clench and Justin McCombs as [Guvnor] Stanley Stubbers. The audience participation was also a highlight and a fun surprise.

Cary Davenport as Alan Dangle, Courtney Lucien as Pauline Clench, Nicholas Rose as CharlieClench, Matthew Lewis Johnson as Francis Henshall, Geoffrey Barnes as Lloyd Boateng & Miranda McGee as Dolly. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Cary Davenport as Alan Dangle, Courtney Lucien as Pauline Clench, Nicholas Rose as Charlie Clench, Matthew Lewis Johnson as Francis Henshall, Geoffrey Barnes as Lloyd Boateng & Miranda McGee as Dolly. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

A strong ensemble rounds out the cast. Thanks to them and director Brian Isaax Phillips, fun bits and zany character choices abound. From Charlie Clench’s laugh (courtesy of Nick Rose) to Miranda McGee’s no-nonsense Dolly with her questionable taste in men.

With so many locations to depict, set designer Sarah Beth Hall does a great job of creating a versatile set to meet those demands. I was a bit confused by the choices made in the painting the set. It didn’t seem to evoke the time-period of the show very well for me.  It was very smart to use The Shakes to keep the show’s momentum and energy up during the scene changes.

The house band “The Shakes” performs throughout the production: Jeremy Dubin, Kelly Mengelkoch, Cary Davenport & Josh Katawick. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

The house band “The Shakes” performs throughout the production: Jeremy Dubin, Kelly Mengelkoch, Cary Davenport & Josh Katawick. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Overall, over-the-top and laugh-out-loud fun. Strap yourself in and enjoy the ride. Ticket sales were so strong, that the addition of two matinees was announced opening night. If there are any tickets available, Sat, June 27 at 2pm is probably your best shot.

My rating: 4.25 out of 5

I would enjoy hearing what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.

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