A Servant of Two Masters

Previewed 12 December 2000, Opened 14 December 2000, Closed 3 February 2001 at the Ambassadors Theatre
Previewed 18 July 2001, Opened 24 July 2001, Closed 25 August 2001 at the Noel Coward Theatre

The Royal Shakespeare Company presents Lee Hall new adaptation of Carlo Goldoni's comedy A Servant of Two Masters in London starring Jason Watkins in the title role

Two wages. Two men's meals. Am I Mad? Not half! Underpaid. Overstreched. Truffaldino is an out of work servant, and in one fantastic day he ends up with two jobs. And why not? - he's broke and hungry. Two jobs means twice as much money, twice as much food and twice as much work!

His two masters, meanwhile, are just as busy. Separated lovers on the run, they end up in the same inn, each unaware that the other is there. Which isn't difficult seeing that one of them is in drag. Confusion abounds in Carlo Goldoni's comedy of disguise, deception, love and longing in Venice. A wily Italian servant gets lucky in this classic 18th century Commedia - brought up to date in a version by Lee Hall.

The cast features Jason Watkins as 'Truffaldino' who reprises his role from the original staging. Directed by Tim Supple with designs by Robert Innes Hopkins, lighting by Paul Anderson and sound by Andrea J Cox. Originally seen at the RSC's Other Place in Stratford upon Avon (8 December 1999 to 22 January 2000) and in London at the Young Vic Theatre (previewed from 4 February 2000, opened on 10 February 2000 and closed on 11 March 2000).

"Lee Hall's adaptation of Carlo Goldini's 1746 farce A Servant To Two Masters has some splendid new jokes and Jason Watkins' breathtakingly athletic performance as the servant attempting to hold down two jobs without anyone finding out is a comic masterpiece. Michelle Butterly, very Helen Mirren-ish as the maid who falls for the rascal as the Italian middle classes of the period are mercilessly lampooned, is terrific too. Tim Supple's production started at Stratford-upon-Avon and is an especially glittering jewel in the treasure chest that the Royal Shakespeare Company is offering these days." The News of the World

"The Royal Shakespeare Company, with its last gasp this year, has a new hit, and a new star... This co-production with the Young Vic, in a sparkling, wonder-filled new version by rising dramatist Lee Hall, will become, no question, a smash hit staple of the repertoire. Not least because Tim Supple's production is built around a remarkable performance by a remarkable young actor, Jason Watkins... A performances, and an evening, to cherish." The Daily Mail

"The RSC's final production of the year is a triumphant recreation of Carlo Goldoni's best-known comedy. Lee Hall's modern version is generous with expletives and the slick usages of the media age, and he turns the maid, Smeraldina (a fiery, sexy Michelle Butterly), into a sharp-witted feminist firebrand. Some of this might at first have made Goldoni choke on his polenta, but I think he would have come round because he would have seen that Hall never violates the cheeky, freewheeling spirit of his text. Tim Supple's production is boisterous but beautifully controlled. A couple of the younger actors give the kind of amateurish performances of which no RSC production is free these days, but most of the acting is excellent: athletic but precise... The hero of the production is Jason Watkins as the servant of the title. This is a breathtakingly athletic performance in the finest tradition of the commedia dell'arte. I never thought an English actor could do such work. Imagine a sparrow strutting like an eagle and getting away with it. Imagine an impudent mouse imitating the action of a tiger. This show is one of the gems of the season." The Sunday Times

RSC's A Servant of Two Masters in London at the Ambassadors Theatre previewed from 12 December 2000, opened on 14 December 2000 and closed on 3 February 2001, returned to London's Noel Coward Theatre previewed from 18 July 2001, opened on 24 July 2001 and closed on 25 August 2001