Der Diener zweier Herren [Servant of Two Masters]

Der Diener zweier Herren
Director: Christian Stückl
Writer: Carlo Goldoni
Cast: Markus Meyer, Peter Simonischek, Andrea Wenzl, Irina Sulaver, Johann Adam Oest, Christoph Radakovits, Sebastian Wendelin,  Hans Dieter Knebel, Mavie Hörbiger, Stefan Wieland
Seen on: 23.10.2016

Plot:
Beatrice (Andrea Wenzl) has problems: her fiancé Florindo (Sebastian Wendelin) had to flee after killing her brother Federigo. Now she’s trying to find Florindo and on the way, collect dowry from her brother’s fiancée Clarice (Irina Sulaver), or rather her father Pantalone (Peter Simonischek). But she’ll only succeed by convincing them that Federigo is not actually dead – so she travels disguised as him. Traveling with her is her servant Truffaldino (Markus Meyer). Truffaldino is unhappy with his pay and always hungry. So when they stop at a hotel where another guest offers Truffaldino a job as servant, he accepts – unaware that it’s Florindo. But having to serve two masters at the same time is more complicated than Truffaldino expected.

I’m not a huge fan of comedies of error in general, but this rendition of Servant of Two Masters was rather enjoyable and funny, even if it didn’t leave me flat out enthusiastic.

There is a frantic tone to Stückl’s production that got a little exhausting for me. But I guess a high tempo is needed to sell the increasingly unlikely and yet repetitive errors made – otherwise you start thinking about things and realize just how ludicrous everything is. And for the most part, the play succeeds in making you forget how stupid it is. I’ve definitely seen worse comedy of errors in my life.

The best thing about it, hands down, was Mavie Hörbiger’s Smeraldina though, who stills absolutely every scene she’s in and is simply hilarious. So much so, that I was able to ignore the old stereotype of the Angry Feminist Who Puts the Fear in All Men and Just Needs to Get Laid, although it grated.

I realize that all of the positive things I’ve said so far came with qualifications: it’s funny if you turn your brain off. Smeraldina is awesome if you ignore the sexism. And now I’ll have to add a third one: the stage design is cool if you accept the monotony (for me it took some getting used to, but I grew to like it).

All of that makes Der Diener zweier Herren an enjoyable theater evening, but not a great one. Though I doubt that this particular play would ever work as great theater evening for me, personally, so that’s probably the best possible thing I could say about it.

Summarizing: If you like comedies of error, go for it.

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