Melanie Phillips

26 May 2011

A joyous production

Published in: Spectator

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On Tuesday evening, I went to the first night of Richard Bean’s new play at London’s National Theatre, One Man, Two Guvnors. It fully deserves the rave reviews it has received (see here,  here and here): it is pure joy. Based on Carlo Goldoni’s Commedia dell'Arte farce The Servant of Two Masters, it is a glorious fusion of physical slapstick, verbal wit and magnificent performances -- and brilliant direction by Nicholas Hytner.

I have written about Richard Bean before. He is that rarest of rare creatures, a fully paid-up member of the artistic world who (maybe because of his previous life as an occupational psychologist) is a courageous independent thinker. It was he who, having been attacked by the usual lobotomised pc crowd over his multicultural play England People Very Nice, then chose to take on the received wisdom on man-made global warming in The Heretic.

In all these plays, Bean shows a sharp satiric wit and a merciless eye for the pretentious absurdities of human behaviour.

About Melanie

Melanie Phillips is a British journalist and author. She is best known for her controversial column about political and social issues which currently appears in the Daily Mail. Awarded the Orwell Prize for journalism in 1996, she is the author of All Must Have Prizes, an acclaimed study of Britain's educational and moral crisis, which provoked the fury of educationists and the delight and relief of parents.

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Melanie Phillips
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