Reviewed by Janine Rumble
Last night (Tuesday 1st May 2018) I went to the Derngate in Northampton to see the 1970’s sitcom classic Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em stage play. It was rip-roaringly funny from beginning to end.
This Limelight Productions presentation, written and directed by Guy Unsworth, is based on the TV series of the same name by Raymond Allen. It stars a small cast of six, including the ultimate funny man and much-loved comedian, Joe Pasquale as Frank Spencer. Sarah Earnshaw as his long-suffering wife, Betty Spencer. Susie Blake as Betty’s mother, Barbara Fisher. Moray Treadwell who plays both Terry Luscombe, the man from the BBC and David Worthington, Barbara’s fancy man. David Shaw-Parker who plays Father O’Hara and Chris Kiely who plays both Desmond James, the cameraman from the BBC and the Constable.
From beginning to end, it was a laugh a minute and was faithful to the slapstick humour of the original TV series. As well as the expected humour, there were also some tender moments between Frank and Betty too.
Joe Pasquale is well cast as the hapless, but loveable, if slightly accident-prone Frank Spencer. His comedic timing is brilliant and when things do not go quite right, he adlibs it brilliantly to much hilarity. He is so believable as the character Frank Spencer, that any thoughts of Frank Spencer from the TV sitcom are dispersed. He has made the character his own. He does not use many of the expected sayings of the sitcom Frank Spencer, but his version embodies the old and has refreshed him in such a believable way. As ever Frank is out of a job and job hunting, he auditions as a magician, whilst unbeknownst to him; Betty has discovered some happy news of her own. However, does not immediately get around to telling Frank, although her disapproving mother played brilliantly by Susie Blake knows, as does Father O’Hara. Later that night during a meal, prepared (badly) by Frank, wires become crossed with hilarious results and lots of brilliant quips and innuendos. I will not say too much so as not to spoil it. Let’s just say, that everything that could go wrong after that, does go wrong much to the amusement of the audience. Add in 2 men from the BBC, a police officer, a bank manager and a priest and you have a great comedy on your hands. I do not think I have ever heard an audience laugh so loudly or so much. My cheeks were hurting by the time I left the theatre. Susie Blake was very funny as his drunk mother in law; she had me laughing at her antics as she staggered around the stage.
The set itself is very clever, showing the front room, stairs and kitchen of the house. The scenery does not change and that, I think adds to the cosiness of the show. It is all decked out in wallpaper and furnishings of the era and the kitchen is amazing, even down to the cupboards and the ironing board that people would have used in the 70’s.
I would highly recommend that everyone go to see this show. It is a nostalgic walk down memory lane and the music that accompanies it will have you singing along. You do not have to be a fan of the TV show, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em to really enjoy this show. As long as you like to laugh at silly slapstick humour, I promise you will have a great night.
Tickets cost from £23 to £37.50 (booking fees may apply).
Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em is at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton from 1-5 May 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk or call the box office on 01604 624811.
Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton, NN1 1DP | 01604 624811