Review: Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em
Image courtesy The Churchill Theatre
Joe Pasquale - Frank Spencer
Susie Blake - Mrs Fisher
Sarah Earnshaw - Betty
David Shaw-Parker - Father O'Hara
Moray Treadwell - Mr Luscombe, Mr Worthington
Ben Watson - Desmond, Police constable
Jayne Ashley - Understudy Mrs Fisher
Hilarious mishaps and DIY disasters are bringing the house down, quite literally, as Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em hits the road with Joe Pasquale (New Faces, I'm a Celebrity, Spamalot, The Producers) as the lovable accident-prone Frank Spencer.
Betty has exciting news for Frank, but he's preoccupied by possible newfound fame as a magician.
With guests arriving for dinner and crossed wires all round, priceless misunderstandings are on the menu.
Susie Blake (Coronation Street, The Victoria Wood Show, Blithe Spirit) stars as his disapproving Mother-in-Law and Sarah Earnshaw as his long-suffering wife Betty.
Based on the 1970s classic TV comedy by Ray Allen and directed by the award-winning Guy Unsworth, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em is the ultimate feel-good night out, washed down with lashings of nostalgia and Mother's prune wine.
Geoffrey BillingsleyPerformance date: Thursday 27 February 2020
There certainly was a golden age of situation comedy in the 1970's - I should know as I was lucky enough to live through it all.
The BBC led the way and 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em' was hugely popular, starring the enigmatic Michael Crawford, of course.
This stage version, written and directed by Guy Unsworth, was inspired by a real life Frank Spencer type moment when Mr Unsworth and Joe Pasquale were backstage between performances of 'Spamalot' and Joe managed to blow up a faulty fan in his dressing room.
An idea was formed and here we have this very funny touring production of the exploits of accident prone Frank Spencer.
Joe Pasquale is probably the ideal choice to play Frank, with the very capable Sarah Earnshaw as his poor wife Betty.
In a recent interview, Joe said that they had to avoid impersonating Michael Crawford as Frank and Joe makes a good fist of playing the accident prone Spencer, using his own natural talents as a laughter-maker.
Sarah Earnshaw as Betty and Joe Pasquale as Frank Spencer - photo: Scott Rylander
Frank has an ambition to take his magic act to the BBC but when he arrives home Betty has some very important news to relay - she's expecting their first child - but do you think Frank will actually listen to her long enough to be told the exciting news?
Of course not - he's too busy with his magic act and protecting his indoor chicken!
There were two, but one was savaged by a fox so he's determined to protect the lone survivor.
So we have mass confusion and mis-understandings galore - farcical, but enormous fun.
Jayne Ashley, understudy to Susie Blake, gives an excellent comedic performance as Mrs Fisher - Frank's mother-in-law.
Capturing the true essence of a drunk isn't easy, but Miss Ashley does it rather well, I must say.
The setting up of a show like this must be a nightmare as there are lights blowing, water pipes flooding the kitchen, most of the furniture collapsing at some stage and doors being slammed in the faces of Mrs Fisher and Father O'Hara (David Shaw-Parker) and the police constable (Ben Watson) who is called in by a neighbour about the noise.
There is a fairly weak story line involving a missing watch and the local community centre which gives Moray Treadwell the chance to play two amusing parts as Mr Luscombe and Mr Worthington, but it's all about Joe Pasquale really and some of his antics are a joy to witness, especially at the climax when he runs through a tirade of everything that's happened this far.
He then proceeds to fall down a flight of 15 stairs, which culminates in a cringe of sympathy from the press night audience.
He's come a long way from New Faces.
Not only does he now have a pilot's licence, he's also completing a degree with the OU on geoscience.
Nobody's fool then, but as Frank Spencer he's extremely funny, reminding us of one of our funniest TV sitcom heroes of all time.
Links and related content
ActDrop listing for The Churchill Theatre
Our show listing for Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em
Read our reviews' policy