Written by Stanley Greenberg Friday, 22 June 2012 00:00
I have long been a fan of British humor. I eagerly awaited each Sunday for Channel 135 episodes of Monty Python. John Cleese always had me laughing with his crazy schtick. They were a purely English group with slapstick routines.
I also was an admirer of Benny Hill. His bawdy double-entendres and outright sexual themes were hilarious. Terry Thomas, with his gapped central incisors was another of my favorites. Carry On Nurse captured British humor in all of its subtle irony. Don’t forget Alec Guinness as the many-roled victim in Kind Hearts and Coronets, a masterpiece.
When One Man, Two Guvnors arrived at the Music Box Theater from England, I was anxious to see the show. I had seen a couple of scenes from it during the Tony Awards. It promised to be a rollicking evening in the theater; it was to be English music hall entertainment. Not exactly what transpired.
James Corden, the lead actor/comedian in One Man, Two Guvnors was sensational. His slapstick routines reminded me of the Hudson Burlesque Theater in Union, New Jersey. It was “anything for a laugh” amusement, especially if there was a naughty edge to it. He rolled on the floor and did comedy bits that had the audience in stitches. Like Queen Victoria, my beautiful wife Lorraine was “not amused.” I laughed but not uproariously. The theatergoers laughed and chuckled at stuff that was beyond me.
British comedians speak very fast and sometimes the humor is strictly British in its interpretation. If you intend to see this show, try to sit in the first five rows, orchestra. The happy ending brought Lorraine out of her doldrums and she joined the very rousing standing ovation for the cast.
One cannot underestimate a Saturday evening on 45th Street in Manhattan. The crowds are enormous and the million lights add to the show.