REVIEW: Perfect antidote to winter gloom

Northern Broadsides The Man with Two Gaffers Stephen Joseph Theatre (Round) until Sat 25 Nov at 7.30pm Matinee Sat 25 at 2.30pm Review by Mike Park

The local popularity of Northern Broadsides virtually guaranteed a full house for the opening night of this riotous farce.

It's an adaptation by Blake Morrison of a play by Italian author Carlo Goldoni, with the original Venetian dialect being replaced by the broadest of Yorkshire, and the setting moving to the 'Venice of the North', Skipton. in the 1850s.

The convoluted plot revolves around a wily gentleman's manservant who finds himself working for two bosses, neither of whom knows about the other.

This leads to plenty of mistaken

identity, near-fatal misunderstandings, and an air of general confusion, which fortunately does finally clear to reveal a happy ending.

The cast obviously enjoys going gloriously over the top with a witty script stacked with double entendres, groan-inducing jokes, and achingly funny physical routines.

Superb in the title role is the indefatigable Barrie Rutter, who also directs, and even finds time to bandy words with the audience.

Dicken Ashworth, Victoria Fleming, Kate Ambler, Nicola Sanderson, Roy North, Matt Connor, Simeon Truby, and Simon Holland Roberts brilliantly portray a set of memorable, if somewhat batty, characters.

It's an evening of blissful comedy from a company who are masters of the genre, and is the perfect antidote to the gloom of winter.