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Theatre review: A Servant to Two Masters

Steph Niciu gives the verdict on the show at Southport's Little Theatre

A Servant To Two Masters is widely considered to be Carlo Goldoni’s most famous farce. He began writing plays in 1730 with his first work entitled Amalasunta. From then on, the playwright made the move into comedy which led him to produce A Servant in 1743.

Director Stephen Hughes- Alty’s production with the Southport Dramatic Club, is one that remains true to Goldoni’s classic text and the influence of Commedia dell’arte, a form of street theatre based on improvisation which originated in Venice during the 1600s.

In the play, Truffaldino decides to serve two masters at the same time. One is Beatrice Rasponi, who disguises herself as her dead brother, Fedrigo, to get the dowry money from the father of his girlfriend, Clarice. The other is Florindo who killed Fedrigo for honour but is deeply in love with his sister.

Stand out performances came from Kerry Baratinsky, who was brilliant at keeping up appearances as her strong, determined and confident brother Fedrigo. She came complete with a peacock feather in her hat and a little more to be desired when it came to her trouser area, which she played on to produce some genuinely funny quips throughout the play.

Also, Robbie Fletcher Hill as Florindo, was wonderfully flamboyant and made the audience chuckle with his character’s endearing mannerisms.

And, even though, she had a peripheral part in the play as the innkeeper, Mistress Brighella, portrayed by Jenny Corcoran, provided great one liners and audience interaction.

The play is certainly funny but sometimes misses the mark when it comes to delivering the punchlines. Truffaldino played by Ted Bullen, is silly and playful as the master but he seemed to lose some of this momentum as the plot progressed. Similarly, Emily Meadow plays well as Clarice, the spoilt daughter of Pantaloon, but at times, her performance was a bit too excessive.

Despite its popularity, this may not be the most entertaining of comedies that Goldoni has written. However, Alty’s production does succeed for the most part in managing to bring out the fun, cheekiness and frivolity of this farce.

A Servant To Two Masters runs from 9th-17th May at the Little Theatre, Hoghton Street, Southport.

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