David O’Reilly: One Man, Two Guvnors Interview - "Francis is a larger than life character"

Actor David O’Reilly discusses playing the lead role of Francis Henshall in One Man, Two Guvnors, starring in Benidorm and what he's looking forward to about performing in Derby.

Tell us more about your character and what you are looking forward to most about playing him...

The play is adapted from The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni and my character of Francis Henshall is based upon the character Truffaldino.

Francis is a larger than life character with larger than life ways. He has 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.     

One Man, Two Guvnors is a fast-paced and funny farce, how do you prepare for taking on a role in a production of this genre?

Preparation and research are really important for me. 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 then look at all the given information about my character and his 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. 

What can audiences expect from seeing a performance of One Man, Two Guvnors?

Audiences can expect a really well written and funny play based on the foundations of a popular format presented in a very relatable way. With Sarah Brigham at the helm as director, audiences can surely expect a pacey, slick and funny production. 

You have appeared in two series of Benidorm for ITV – can you tell us more about the role you played and how you found it filming abroad for this popular British sitcom?

I played the role of Bean in Series 9 & 10. Originally from Dublin, he found himself working at the Benidorm circus and helped out his mate Mateo when the Solana was in trouble. In Series 10 he came sniffing about looking for a job and caused chaos. I was beyond excited when I got offered the role. To be part of such an iconic British sitcom, which starred some of our finest actors and comedians, was really a truly an honour. Filming in Spain was such an incredible bonus that sometimes I needed to remember I was actually working! Benidorm is a wonderful place full of some of the greatest people. 

Have you been to Derby before? What are you looking forward to about performing in the region?

I have been to Derby twice. The first time I watched a production of Stepping Out at Derby Theatre, I was at college training at the time and one of my teachers, mentors and now a dear friend Flik Swan was starring in it. The second time I came to Derby was for my final audition for One Man, Two Guvnors. Both trips were short so I’m excited to spend some time seeing the delights Derby and Derby Theatre has to offer. 

A task for you! If you Google ‘the best things to do in Derby’ – what takes your fancy in the search results? 

So, having examined the results very closely, I will definitely be paying a visit to the Intu shopping centre and Derby Market Hall. I love spending money, I am far too good at it! Allestree Park is also most certainly going on my list of things to do, it looks stunning and I can walk around pretending like I own the place. I’ll definitely light a candle in the Cathedral, I was born in Ireland so it’s compulsory to light a candle if walking by a church or cathedral!

Finally, do you have a short message for the people and audiences of Derby?

I am so excited to be part of this incredible production at one of the UK's finest regional theatres and can't wait to experience Derby and Derby Theatre. Please do come and support your local theatre and see a wonderfully written play with a great director, who’s brought together a team that are going to work extremely hard to give Derby a wonderful show. 

Book Tickets

One Man, Two Guvnors runs at Derby Theatre from Saturday 7 - Saturday 28 September.