Monday, September 25, 2023

Classical Clowning In A Servant To Two Masters

Belper Players return with a classic Italian tale of a servant in need of a good square meal.

At the centre of A Servant To Two Masters is the hapless Truffaldino, whose plan to get two dinners a day by serving two gentlemen at the same time, but unknown to each other, backfires with hilarious consequences.

Written by Carlo Goldoni, this version is translated by Lee Hall, probably best known as the writer of Billy Elliot. The play also inspired the Broadway hit One Man Two Guv’nors.

Director Sheila Kay Sly wanted to stage the original Commedia Dell’Arte story with a reference to the masks the archetypes would have worn. These are represented by a young company, commenting on and contributing to the action.

The staging is designed to give the audience a feel of watching a travelling company performing around them in the street. Sheila hopes that they will feel completely immersed in the performance.

Sheila said: “The main characters are based on the traditional stock characters of the Commedia dell’Arte, with Truffaldino representing the Harlequin clown figure. But anyone will immediately recognise these characters as they appear throughout comedy, from pantomime to the Carry On films.

“The lengths that Truffaldino will go to to feed his belly are comical enough, but add hidden identities, lovers in peril and a character who doesn’t even exist and you have the recipe for a real treat. There really is something in this play for everyone.”

A Servant To Two Masters, the final production of Belper Players’ 80th anniversary year, will be staged at Strutts Centre, Derby Road, Belper from 8th to 12th November.

Performances start at 7.30pm with an additional Saturday matinee at 2pm.  Tickets cost £10 and £9 concessions.

To book, call 07582 416610 or visit the Belper Players website at

Claire Meese


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