Fans of the original sit com in the 70’s, when we only had three channels on the TV, will be intrigued to observe the stage version of ‘Some Mothers do ‘ave ‘em. With some vague recollection of a time when Michael Crawford was the very accident prone, hapless ‘Frank’, with his facial expressions that often required no words, any stage version certainly has a lot to live up to.
Written by Guy Unsworth and Raymond Allen and directed by Unsworth himself, the delivery of the comedy itself must be applauded. The writers ensure that there is a consistency to the energy in the entire performance and jokes come fast and are plentiful. Occasionally it felt as though there was almost ‘too much’ to laugh at as there were so many comedic lines delivered by all the cast throughout the entire performance – blink and you missed them!
Joe Pasquale performs as ‘Frank’ and is certainly an excellent choice. When Pasquale is on stage it is hard to imagine anyone else performing this role. His unique voice lent himself to sound very close in tone to Crawfords ‘Frank’. His facial expressions and movements, including at times a slow subtle leg move to delicate situations was just as Crawford would have performed as Frank in the 70s sitcom itself.
With numerous credits to her name, Sarah Earnshaw was the perfect ‘Betty’. Her performance was an excellent interpretation of how Michelle Dotrice, the original Betty, performed alongside Frank. She was loyal, gentle and often incredibly frustrated as his long-suffering wife’. Franks mother-in -law ‘Mrs Fisher’ is played by Susie Blake. Blake demonstrated perfect comedic timing throughout and had the audience in stitches when she was clearly rather tipsy following the prune wine! Moray Treadwell who performed the part of ‘Mr Luscombe’ and ‘Mr Worthington’ must get a special mention for an incredible double act with Pasquale when he was interviewing him for the BBC – with much stage presence his lines were executed entirely to get a laugh alongside Pasquale and succeeded every time.
The set designer Simon Higlett must be applauded for one of the most spectacular sets in that it was literally designed to fall apart due to Franks many mishaps. The final moments involving the staircase, an explosion in the kitchen and a water leak were hilarious. The performance was enhanced throughout by such a fantastic set. This allowed Pasquale to execute various stunts and was facilitated by such a set. Stunt co-ordinator Kev McCurdy ensured that all stunts were executed to perfection.
If you are looking for a ‘feel-good’ night out with the family and humour that is appropriate for all then this is absolutely the performance to see. It is heart-warming, old school ‘slapstick’ and has a gentle innocence to it. Back in the 70s we relied on canned laughter from the TV as we laughed from our living rooms at home, however this performance certainly demonstrates that audiences still laugh out loud to such a classic genre of comedy sitcom.
Well deserving of its standing ovation this is simply a joyous production.
Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em is on at The Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent until Saturday 30th July and tickets are available from www.atgtickets.com
Reviewer: Angela Kelly
Reviewed: 26th July 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★