One Man & Two Guvnors - Original Cast Recording

by Steven Bergman
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Apr 30, 2012
One Man & Two Guvnors - Original Cast Recording

The National Theatre has brought its acclaimed production of "One Man, Two Guvnors" to America under the direction of Nicholas Hytner. Featuring James Corden in the lead role ("The History Boys," "Doctor Who"), this play with music contains a retro score, accurately composed by Grant Olding, that will keep you tapping your feet with enjoyment from start to finish.

Olding is a musical chameleon. Having collaborated with Hytner on several theater scores in the UK, he has created a wonderful recording based on the "skiffle" music of early 1960's England, a folk-based genre that began in America with Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie, subsequently coming into popularity overseas when the Englishman Lonnie Donnegan became a star with cover versions of his American counterparts. The movement directly affected a quartet based in Liverpool, and is highly discernible in the early music of the Beatles.

Wanting a house band to provide live performance before, after, and during scene changes for the production, "The Craze" was created, and they provide the catchy hooks and lyrics of Olding's (all of which are strategically placed within the show, loosely based on Goldoni's "The Servant of Two Masters"), and are increasingly accompanied by the cast throughout the evening.

Fans of The Kinks' hits "You Really Got Me" and "All Day and All of the Night" will enjoy the homages "The Ballad of Ted and Calista" and "Strung Out Dolly." "My Old Man's a Gannet" could easily have been written by Guthrie (writer of "This Land Is Your Land"). Olding himself handles the lead vocals on the recording, with Phil James, Richard Coughlan and Benjamin Brooker ably encompassing these new tunes from an era that only older baby boomers may recall, but the score is both an effective calling card to go see the production (currently at the Music Box Theater), and an entertaining stand alone listen.

"One Man, Two Guvnors" Original Cast Recording
CD / Digital formats
DRG Records

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.


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