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O’Reilly relishing role in Derby’s One Man Two Guvnors

Published: 30 August 2019
Reporter: Steve Orme

David O’Reilly is relishing the opportunity to play the central role in Richard Bean’s farce One Man Two Guvnors at Derby Theatre, describing Francis Henshall as a “larger-than-life character with larger-than-life ways”.

O’Reilly, who played Bean the drunk in two series of the ITV comedy series Benidorm, says he is “so excited to be part of this incredible production at one of the UK's finest regional theatres”.

He describes Francis Henshall, a role previously played by James Corden, Owain Arthur and Rufus Hound, as having “goals that he wants or needs to achieve in this play and whilst trying to achieve them finds himself in many hilarious and hysterical situations”.

The play is adapted from The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni, with Francis Henshall being based on the character Truffaldino.

O’Reilly says preparation and research are really important for him. “I start by reading the play many times. Each time I read it, I think about it from a different perspective including the audience, my character, other characters, my character’s physical and technical requirements and many more.

“I then research the given circumstances; these include the era and where it is set. I look at my character’s relationships with other characters and then plot out the foundations of who they are and the reasons behind all the choices and reactions they make during the play.

“With (Derby Theatre’s artistic director) Sarah Brigham at the helm as director, audiences can surely expect a pacey, slick and funny production,” said O’Reilly who talks in detail about his part in the play in a BTG podcast episode.

One Man Two Guvnors runs at Derby Theatre from Saturday 7 until Saturday 28 September. Press night will be Tuesday 10 September. It transfers to Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch which is co-producing the show from Wednesday 2 until Saturday 19 October.