I finally saw One Man, Two Guvnors on the weekend, and laughed every bit as I'd been warned I would. The relentless slapstick, bawdy humour and asides to the audience - at once old-fashioned in form but sharp and unexpected in delivery - make the production, as Michael Billington wrote in his latest review, impossible to argue with. But only that's if you see comedy as an intent worthy of five stars, as he gave it.
Saturday's performance sparked a debate among my friends as to whether a theatre production that makes no attempt to explore the human condition, to change its audience's view of the world, to hold a mirror up to society or to dazzle us with inventive staging ever deserves the full five-star rating.
Four stars, one friend argued, is as much as an out-and-out laugh-fest, no matter how successfully it tickles its audience, should ever be awarded.
I'd argue that it's harder than it looks to achieve that level of comic brilliance - if it were that easy, there would be far more purely comic productions, with audiences only too happy to see them to be cheered up.
(I'd also argue, and I know I'm not alone in saying that the star rating is itself problematic, and leaves little room for distinction).
Do you agree? Is comedy a lesser theatrical form than any other? Or is five stars a perfectly valid score to give a show that really goes for belly laughs?
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