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One Man, Two Guvnors writer hails James Corden’s on-stage talents

Richard Bean with the Best New Play award for One Man, Two Guvnors, at the 2011 Critics Circle Theatre Awards, at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Coventry Street, London.
Richard Bean with the Best New Play award for One Man, Two Guvnors, at the 2011 Critics Circle Theatre Awards, at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Coventry Street, London.

The writer of the play One Man, Two Guvnors, which won global critical acclaim and awards for James Corden, has said the actor and TV show host “completely seduced the audience every night” when he appeared on stage.

Comedian Corden, 43, has announced he will be stepping down from presenting The Late Late Show in the US next year after nearly eight years fronting the CBS talk show, with reports saying he plans to spend more time in the UK.

He was acclaimed for his acting abilities when he starred in the National Theatre, West End and Broadway runs of the production of One Man, Two Guvnors, a role which also earned him a best actor Tony Award in 2012 for his Broadway performance.

James Corden on stage
James Corden on stage (Yui Mok/PA)

Award-winning playwright Richard Bean told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that a young Corden was “incredibly hard-working, ambitious, amazingly professional, and the comic timing on stage to absolutely kill for, like the best, absolute classic comic timing”.

“I mean in my show, One Man, Two Guvnors, he played a lovable idiot and he completely seduced the audience every night.”

Bean, whose writing credits also include film The Duke, starring Dame Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent, said Corden “completely broke America on Broadway”.

He added that he had not watched The Late Late Show, but said Corden was “a bit Marmite nowadays, I understand”, adding: “But I absolutely adored him for what he did for me.”

He said news of Corden returning to the UK was “fantastic”.

The Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards – London
Richard Bean with the Best New Play award for One Man, Two Guvnors (Ian West/PA)

“He’s such a fantastic performer live. I really want to see him do some live stuff,” Bean said.

The writer’s reworking of an 18th century Italian play, transplanted to 1960s Brighton as One Man, Two Guvnors, enjoyed sell-out runs at theatres.

Corden was relatively unknown in America when he debuted as the host of The Late Late Show, but segments like Carpool Karaoke, which featured some of the biggest names in the music industry singing in cars with Corden, soon cemented him and the show as a firm favourite over the pond.

He grew up in Buckinghamshire and met Ruth Jones while working on ITV drama Fat Friends, with the pair going on to create what would become one of the small screen’s most-loved shows, Gavin And Stacey.

Announcing his departure from The Late Late Show on air, Corden said it had “changed his life” and vowed “we are going to go out with a bang”.

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