The first act is driven by Francis' insatiable hunger and his quest for money to buy more food. He achieves this by taking on a second job, coincidentally with Stanley. Chaos ensues as the easily confused Francis tries to keep "Roscoe" and Stanley from knowing he is working for two "guvnors" and trying to keep straight which instructions came from which master, and whose money, mail or belongings he is currently handling.
Audience participation and breaking of the fourth wall was a big part of the show. Unable to move the trunk on his own, Francis solicits help by dragging up two unsuspecting audience members onto the stage, having great fun with them in the process. During the dinner scene, he asks a woman from the audience to to help him hold the soup tureen as he hides his share of the food in it. As the scene gets more and more manic with the poor woman still on stage, you start to wonder whether she is actually part of the show. By the time she gets splashed with wine and sprayed with a fire extinguisher, you know that she is a plant, but the scene was played out so realistically that it was fun to go along for the ride. Improvisation was actively encouraged to keep the play fresh from show to show, but the actors are so skilled at it that it is difficult to tell which parts are scripted versus off the cuff.
A performance of One Man, Two Guvnors at the National Theatre in London was filmed and simulcast to a audience watching in real time in a park outside of the theatre. This filming was recently shown at Cineplex movie theatres across North America. At our screening, the audience was howling with laughter, especially during the first act. It will be shown once again on May 5, 2012 and is definitely worth watching.