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Rep Opens Season With Larger-Than-Life Comedy

Raymond McAnally stars as as Francis Henshall with Jack Fellows as Stanley Stubbers in the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' "One Man, Two Guvnors."
Jerry Naunheim Jr.
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

“One Man, Two Guvnors” is part British comedy, part chaos.

“It runs like a mix between rock ’n’ roll show and a bit stand-up comedy and improv because there is so much audience interaction and there are so many wild cards,” said Raymond McAnally, who stars in the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis production.

McAnally plays Francis Henshall, a man who has taken on two jobs for two different bosses, or “guvnors.”

“He’s one of those guys who cannot help but mix things up. It’s not necessarily his intention, but every decision leads to an absolute flip-flop of what should happen. The comedy comes from just this guy really messing up everybody’s life around him.”

Francis fears that his less-than-reputable bosses will find out he’s working for the other and will fire him. And he needs those jobs — how else will he be able to afford fish and chips?

Francis (and McAnally) have some help from an unlikely place: the audience.

“We talk to the audience. We improvise with the audience. Ray comes off the stage to have conversations with the audience. We ask the audience questions,” artistic director Steve Woolf said. “There’s a fair amount of improvisatory work going on.”

“This is one of those plays that’s chock-full of asides to the audience. There are moments where I need the audience’s help and participation,” McAnally said. “This captures the best elements about what makes theater different from movies and television shows. You cannot do a comedy this dense with material with this kind of live interaction any other way.”

Related Event

“One Man, Two Guvnors” by Richard Bean

  • When: Through Oct. 5, 2014
  • Where: Browning Mainstage, Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves
  • Cost: $21-$79.50
  • More information

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.