Duval’s performance carries “One Man, Two Guvnors”

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]— Courtesy of Alexander Weisman
PTC’s show “One Man, Two Guvnors” features a clever infusion of era-specific music along with a zany cast of characters that bring a sometimes manic comedic energy to the show.
“One Man, Two Guvnors” is unique as it combines the elements of a stage play and a musical. It thrives on a well-paced script that is artfully and hilariously directed by first-time PTC guest director David Ivers, who brings together a cast of memorable characters that bumble their way into the heart of the audience.
Christopher Duval, who plays Francis, absolutely charms the audience with his wildly entertaining efforts to serve two masters, his quick wit and surprisingly convincing banter. Motivated by his love of food and, later, the love of his life, Francis follows both his stomach and his heart in fulfilling his own desires along with that of his masters and takes the audience along for the ride.
While there is a strong supporting cast, including a thoroughly enjoyable performance by William Connell — who plays the crooked but endearing Stanley Stubbers — it’s the frenzied and hysterical antics of Duval that absolutely carry the show and draw the attention of the audience to his every move even when he isn’t in the spotlight. His masterful line delivery is a delight and is only topped by a physical performance that defies the rather p ortly stature brought on by Francis’ insatiable appetites.
There are many different aspects to delivering a convincing and humorous physical performance, including over-the-top action as well as a more subtle physicality. Duval is successful at fusing both and at times does so seamlessly. One moment Duval is wrestling a heavy trunk with the acrobatic skill of a gymnast and the next he is wooing a woman with his overly earnest eyes. In perhaps the most entertaining sequence of the night Duval hungrily serves his two unsuspecting masters a full course meal while surreptitiously serving himself. Duval creates a character that is impossible to ignore and even harder to avoid becoming completely entranced by.
The play itself is skillfully directed by Ivers in a fashion that keeps the audience entertained while throwing in random musical performances by different characters that keep the play moving at a frenetic pace. The scenery is its own attraction, and the ability of the stagehands to quickly change out the diverse sets is a marvel in itself. The play accurately recreates 1963 Brighton in all its retro charm and provides more than a few tongue-in-cheek references to the Beatles.
Ivers succeeds in getting the most out of his capable and charismatic cast, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats without overwhelming them. “One Man, Two Guvnors” is a show that will leave audiences breathlessly captivated by its engaging storyline and, much like Duval’s Francis, hungry for more.
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