The Servant of Two Masters

The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni, adapted by David Turner and Paul Lapworth, was performed Open-air at Wroxton Abbey in July 1986.

The Servant of Two Masters

From the director:

Whatever the weather in July, the open air production at Wroxton Abbey is going to be a lot of fun. Carlo Gondoni’s Servant of Two Masters has all the constituents required for constructing a play which borders on farce, pantomime, high comedy and light romance. Set in 18th Century Italy, it might just as well be the East end of London or downtown Brooklyn. The cast of fifteen manage to confuse, bemuse, and fool their way through the most complex of plots until, in the last scene, everything drops into place and everyone lives happily ever after – or at least until the end f the week! If you like a rehearsal schedule which leaves you breathless, want to extend your acting abilities, don’t object to ending up your summer evenings in the North Arms, then this is the play for you. Come to the casting reading which will be held shortly and let your hair down.

Memories of the show from Clare Lester

  • Exploding spaghetti – courtesy of George Moon – it went everywhere and Nik, as an old man, had to pick it up every night – you can imagine the upstaging for this!!
  • One young cast member had cold ‘soup’ poured over him every night
  • Another Wroxton Abbey production but with a new site in the grounds
  • A number of newcomers took part
  • Several cast members were Archers fans and would be found before rehearsals in the Wroxton car park listening to the next episode. They were banned from discussing ‘what happened’ at rehearsals by Tony Neale who liked to listen to the repeat the next day instead!
  • Cast rushed in and out of bushes rather than through doors or windows
  • Liz helped Connie with costumes as she had her eye on one Roger Riley who was in the cast – he more or less ignored her! (more of this love saga in the next production)
  • Don’t think it rained
  • Clare Lester was taken for a spin by Martin in his red Porsche – a joy but at the end found herself having to help him out of a hole regards a fellow actress issue

· Review –

I don’t much care for outdoor productions… correction I did not much care for open air productions until I saw Banbury Cross Players Servant of Two Masters. A Complicated plot… Yes, but it matters not a jot. What does matter is that all the characters are well played, and that they play for all the laughs they can get.

Tour de force when the servant had to serve two masters, literally with their dinner.

Pantalone… was the master of timing, and the throwaway funny line.

The innkeeper acted with his whole body, not just his voice, and had a side splitting walk.

Silvio was careful not to overdo his accident prone antics – when he caught his finger on his swordstick scabbard it was one of the joyfully uproarious moments of the play.

The play had all the ingredients of a summer pantomime, lots of jokes, good lighting, appropriately humorous music… and a very tight direction ensured the audience’s attention and enjoyment.

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