Richard Bean’s riotous farce combines Carlo Goldoni’s original play structure with a particularly Anglo-Saxon verbal and physical humour. It stars James Cordon and is acclaimed as one of the funniest productions in the National’s history.
The plot almost defies description. But Bean has set the action in 1963 in Brighton, and the key point is that Francis Henshall, a failed skiffle player, finds himself working for two guvnors. One, Rachel Crabbe, is disguised as her dead gangland twin.
Francis’s other employer is a snooty toff, Stanley Stubbers, who not only killed Rachel’s brother but is also her secret lover. Neither boss is aware the other is in Brighton, as Francis bounces between them like a shuttlecock and, in the play’s most famous scene, serves them dinner simultaneously.