The Man with Two Gaffers

An adaptation of Goldoni’s A Servant of Two Masters by Blake Morrison
Liverpool Playhouse, 31st October - 4th November

Reviewed by Rachael Warrilow

Having sat through many an adaptation I approached this play with trepidation. Often modern adaptations of established pieces can feel contrived and the language jarred with the setting. But this superb production did no such thing. This is a play of language and Blake Morrison uses the script as a wonderful representation of Northern dialect and humour.

Set in Eighteenth century Yorkshire the play focuses on the dilemma of Arthur Dodge, played stunningly by Barrie Rutter. Dodge, as it says on the tin, is the man with two gaffers. What unfolds is a tale of love, comedy, mistaken identity, cross dressing and, rather unexpectedly, underlying social comment on women’s role in society. When this is played out on stage it melts together to form a fantastically farcical comedy.

The premise of a well told yarn of mistaken identity and comic tomfoolery is proved that it can transcend settings from eighteenth century Italy to nineteenth century Yorkshire. The subject matter is well known however it’s the use of language that gives the play star quality. The jokes, though sometimes slightly too crude, mostly work and the humour engages the audience with its use of asides and double entendres. The cast are superb as is the script and often provide laugh out loud moments.

This play is good old fashioned fun and the northern humour is guaranteed to put a smile on the faces of chilly theatre goers.

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Comment left by Victoria on 5th November, 2006 at 16:58
superb review from Rachael Warrilow, I would like to see more reviews by this very talented writer.

Comment left by Danielle on 6th November, 2006 at 00:38
I thought it was a very predictable, mediocre performance. The use of unintelligent language and sexual innuendo in my opinion was an embarrassment and a farce. I can agree that some of these jokes were funny but after a while they just became lacklustre. The actors did not do justice to what seemed a promising script and plot. I wouldn't recommend this performance unless you enjoy performers using bad language and sexual innuendo's to get the audience to laugh.

Comment left by Matthew Ford on 6th November, 2006 at 20:00
I was thoroughly impressed by the performance. All actors were superb, and the language didn't bother me in the slightest. Extremely entertaining.

Comment left by Yvonne on 15th November, 2006 at 15:27
I totally agree with what Rachel had to say about the performance - though I wouldn't have been able to put it quite as eloquently as she has. I look forward to reading more of her reviews.

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