Originally written for Nottingham Post
If you are looking for a bright, colourful and fun night out based on an eighteenth century Venetian comedy sprinkled with well-known popular songs and live music then Carlo Goldini’s The Servant of Two Masters (translated by Stephen Mulrine) is your theatre ticket to grab with both hands. But grab them quickly because, like many Lace Market Theatre productions, this one looks like selling out pretty darn quick and only runs until Saturday 29th February.
The directors, Jae and Neil Marriott ensure that the action is fast paced and that the chaotic confusions happening on stage only serve to amuse their audience and not confuse us. The language is contemporary. Including a musical threesome, the cast is twelve strong and the young women in the cast are particularly good, all of them bringing a clowning physicality to the piece. Jennifer White is especially good as Beatrice Rasponi disguised as her dead brother Frederico. When Alessia Molteni, Glenda Plumari, Natasha Szymanki, Rosie Wallace and the aforementioned Jennifer White pick up the play’s pace with their mad antics and songs the play really starts to sing.
Konrad Skubis makes a fine and energetic Truffaldino; Christopher Collins convincingly plays the fierce tempered love interest buffoon Silvio; Roger Newman proves himself an amusing and solid father figure with his Pantalone and Arnd Korn plays the second master Florindo with a comic lightness of touch.
The style of this production allows the cast to improvise and ask for name suggestions from the audience. It will be interesting to see how this aspect pans out when the production shows in Karlsruhe this Easter as part of a theatre twinning event. This version of The Servant of Two Masters also has the premise of being performed by a troupe of circus types who find themselves having to cover for the real actors who haven’t turned up on the night and, occasionally, they include the stage manager and prompt in the action when things get tricky, much to the delight of the audience. With this play running just under three hours including interval you certainly get plenty of fun and laughter for your admission price.
Photo credit Grace Eden
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Do you travel by public transport and come across annoying fellow travellers? Then check out Phil Lowe’s hilarious new book! below. Recommended age 16+