One Man, Two Guvnors at the Sydney Theatre Company

The National Theatre of Great Britain's production of One Man, Two Guvnors was brought to Australia by the Sydney Theatre Company and is running for six weeks.  I got tickets for the show based on three things - loads of accolades and awards (which is a good start but an acclaimed show does not mean an entertaining night), a comedy with songs (yes, this means I am not going to be totally depressed about the human condition by the end of the night), and it is from the National Theatre of Great Britain (this tipped the scales).  It was a good choice.  The show is loads of fun and fantastically performed.  The British cast is great and the humour translates.  There are nods and winks to the slice of British culture of the time such as vaudeville song and dance, the Tommy Cooper fez, The Beatles, angry young men in the theatre, Brighton Rockthe Kray brotherscockney humour, and Benny Hill physical comedy and stereotypes.  

Try and get a ticket before the run ends on 11 May and just join in on the fun.  Audience participation is encouraged.

Mrs Warren's Profession at The Sydney Theatre Company

According to The Cambridge Companion to Victorian and Edwardian Theatre, George Bernard Shaw's wrote this play "to draw attention to the truth that prostitution is caused, not by female depravity and male licentiousness, but simply by underpaying, undervaluing, and overworking women so shamefully that the poorest of them are forced to resort to prostitution to keep body and soul together."

He makes this point very well as serves up his challenge of the world order through comedy. It was very controversial in its day, well, for a long time afterwards I am sure, as Bernard Shaw was a man ahead of his time.  He was a socialist, a playwright, music critic and the co-founder of the London School of Economics.  His works were popular because they were comic, but his points certainly hit home.  The current Sydney Theatre Company's production of Mrs Warren's Profession is well done.  

Helen Thomson plays Mrs Warren.  She dominates every scene she is in and is charismatic, pragmatic and a wonderful character.  Lizzie Schebesta plays her daughter, Vivii, who is very much cut from the same cloth.  They may have different professions, but their attitudes and approaches are very similar.  

The production crackles with wit and universal truths.  Truths that are as relevant today as they were back in 1893.  I recommend the play and the Sydney Theatre Company's production is simple, elegant and forthright.  And the staging and backdrop is very effective.  Watch a behind the scenes vignette below about the making of the backdrop.