Following its debut 10 years ago at Central Hall in Liverpool ‘Mam! I’m Ere!’ has gone from strength to strength as it found its home at Liverpool’s Royal Court. After providing one of the venues most successful runs in 2015 and still making audiences laugh in 2018, would it be able to bring the energy and audiences following the delayed 2020 run because of COVID-19? Well, Mam! I’m Ere! has arrived in 2022 and you best tell your mother that this production isn’t hiding away anytime soon (and it’s a good job).
Along with the blessing of original Mamma Mia director Phyllida Lloyd, director Stephen Fletcher takes a hilarious twist on the well-loved 2008 jukebox musical. He tells the story of Sally, a young woman inviting her potential mothers to her home at a Welsh caravan site to witness the happiest day of her life to Charlie. After being brought up by single-dad Dave she attempts to keep his ex-lovers disguised as she aims to find out WHO IS HER MOTHER?! But will she find out? Will the wedding even go ahead? You’ll have to find out for yourself.
I can say with confidence that after the pandemic we’ve all probably been left feeling a little deflated. But I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time at this musical extravaganza and not only just me – those around me tonight. Fletcher’s script perfectly captures the Scouse humour that makes you proud to call Liverpool your home. From jokes incorporating Liverpool’s Bellevale and Princess Drive to the old ‘courting’ stories you hear your parents tell you from their Coconut Grove and The Wooky Hollow days – each moment is timed and presented by a stellar cast. Standing out…well should I say staggering out tonight is Andrew Schofield who plays Dave. With the physicality of Frank Spencer mixed with Frank Gallagher, Schofield is an accomplished and polished actor reading the room and leaving your cheeks sore from laughter. Lynn Francis as (mystic) Mandy provides a SUPER (natural) performance that is witty and hilarious. There is a strong dynamic between Mandy, Brenda and Julie that is well directed and the three of them together is a delight to watch (especially as they describe their dating disasters). ‘Mersey Mouth’ Lindzi Germain opens Act 2 strongly as Julie, providing the thunderous Scouse humour we all know and love her for and finishing off on a high Alan Stocks as Teddy leaves us wanting more as he finally becomes a priest with a lot of power festering within him. Overall, it’s a ‘round of applause’ for the casting team as they have found of actors who just blend together which leaves audiences in tears…literally.
Captured in good detail by Liverpool’s Royal Court team of set designs the clever incorporation and movement of two caravans work well within the space – opening and closing to provide dynamic scene changes which are supported well by the dancing and singing Divas. The direction and incorporation of ‘slow motion’ sometimes can personally come across ‘amateur’ in productions but not in this case as is timed well and performed with believable emotion. Ian Scott provides a ‘disco ball’ of light designs which projected beautifully into the audience and really help take you to Boogie Wonderland. Constructively feeding back and keeping theme with BW I would have liked to see the band in ‘costume’ to blend in – ideally with the Divas, as sometimes it was a slight distraction as they sat raised in the set. But a strong team of cast and creatives – that clearly work well together, and you can sense a strong sense of support from Liverpool’s Royal Court which you do not feel in every theatre.
From Enough is Enough to Young Hearts Break Free the chosen songs are engaging and pull audiences into a really party mood. You leave feeling ready to dance the night away…if you have stopped laughing yet. Overall, Mam! I’m Ere! has done it again and I will fully recommend this production for a feel good and hilarious trip to Boogie Wonderland.
Mam! I’m Ere! Plays in Liverpool until 16th July, https://liverpoolsroyalcourt.com/whats-on/mam-im-ere/
Reviewer: Daniel Cox
Reviewed: 14th June 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★