Based on the classic Italian Comedy, The Servant of Two Masters, the Nuffield Southampton Theatres Campus transported us back to the swinging sixties, to the not so far city of Brighton. We followed a simple minded, desire driven Francis, who wanted nothing more in the world than to satisfy his needs; food, money and love just like the classic Commedia Dell’arte format with Francis being the Harlequin. In order to do this, he finds himself working as a minder for two separate masters or as he calls them, “Guvnors”.
The show itself goes through many different emotions even leaving audience members worrying for their own safety as audience interaction is heavily used. This brings the audience close to the action as some lucky victims are brought onto stage to actively help with the storyline. At no point does the average audience member feel like a passive viewer of a show, with constant interaction and direct conversation to the audience throughout this joyous comedy.
The show itself was fun, uplifting and all together insane but had its moments of genuine, raw talent. This was evident at preshow and within each set change from the use of an inhouse band. Before the show has even started, we are introduced to a Skiffle Band made up of an electric guitar, acoustic guitar, double bass and a washboard, all providing vocals. This really helps transport us into the sixties with very stylised music and sound. The band would also play songs throughout the play during each scene change which were long but didn’t seem long due to the constant entertainment of live music. Every member of the cast played a part in this band at some point during the play, with some stepping in to play the tambourine, sing or even play a soulful saxophone solo. The cast were truly all multitalented and each added a nice new element to the play.
All in all, the show was hugely enjoyable, leaving the audience unable to stop smiling and laughing due to slapstick comedy, silly jokes and up to date improvisation and interactions at times. Would highly recommend for any 16+ if you are looking for just a great feel good show.