Sunday, April 29, 2012

Man of the Year

James Corden in One Man, Two Guvnors.

It's good to know I have at least one thing in common with Her Majesty the Queen--we both laughed our asses off at One Man, Two Guvnors. I caught the NT Live broadcast last year, and she saw the show with new cast last month.

I'm very glad that the original cast, including the dynamic James Corden (who I interviewed for Time Out New York), Oliver Chris and Tom Edden, are reprising their roles on Broadway.

Incidentally, Richard Bean, the terribly clever playwright who turned Carlo Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters into One Man, Two Guvnors, now set in 1960s Brighton, England, instead of 18th-century Italy, mentioned that some words and jokes that might not make sense to Americans had been tweaked for the Broadway production. Because of where I used to work, I noticed immediately that the reference to Mills & Boon, the U.K. publisher of romance novels, had been switched to Harlequin, what the company is known as in this country, and also a very clever in-joke for those familiar with commedia dell'arte characters. Harlequin is the term for the comic servant character.

Just one historical inaccuracy I caught: The is line is now, "A Harlequin Romance by Danielle Steel," and I'm afraid Danielle Steel didn't publish her first novel until 1973, and wasn't a big-name author until the 1980s. But enough hairsplitting. Just tell Alfie to bring the soup.