Richard “One Man, Two Guv’nors” Bean started his playwriting career rather late, but he’s certainly made up for lost time and is popping up everywhere at the moment. With his stage version of Made in Dagenham arriving in the West End in October and a couple of imminent transfers (Great Britain from the National and Pitcairn from Chichester) coming in this month, the smaller Park theatre is currently host to Eleanor Rhode’s impressive revival of his first professionally produced play which premiered at the Royal Court in 1999.

One of the advantages of having lived a life before taking up the pen is that he had a wealth of experience to draw on right from the start and this warm-hearted comedy, set in the canteen of a mass production bread plant in Hull, paints an affectionate picture of the men he worked alongside for over a year.

The long Sunday shift is about to begin and an emergency order means it’s going to be an even longer one than usual for Steve Nicolson’s well-read, ex-con charge-hand Blakey and his team – old-timers Nellie and Cecil who are as wedded to the factory as to their wives, forgetful former deckhand Dezzie who’s definitely a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic and wants to pop home for a quick shag with the missus, family man Peter, and unpopular shop steward Colin. And then there’s the rather creepy temp, Lance, a self-harming student with a fancy vocabulary and even more fanciful ideas.

Bean injects drama and tension into the proceedings – the plant is under threat of closure, the oven jams – but it’s the humour and the interaction between these well-characterised workers which makes this such an enjoyable evening, with Simon Greenall on fine comic form as irrepressible joker Cecil and Matthew Kelly simply mesmerising as crumpled, taciturn Nellie, slowly munching his way through yet another cheese sandwich and eking out his strictly rationed supply of fags.                                 

Where: Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, N4 3JP

Tube : Finsbury Park 

When: Until 21st September 

Cost: £19.50

Image via Facebook/Snapdragon Productions