Harrogate Theatre – until 23 June 2018
Reviewed by Dawn Smallwood
Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em starring Joe Pasquale, comes to Harrogate Theatre, the only one of two Yorkshire stops on its UK Tour. Based on Raymond Allen’s original 1970s TV sitcom, which originally stars Michael Crawford as Frank Spencer, this stage production is written and directed by Guy Unsworth. The sitcom was first aired at a time of political and social tensions worldwide were at its height and the continuous shift of changing attitudes towards traditional societal conventions and behaviours.
Pasquale who is received warmly when he first appears on stage plays the leading role of Frank Spencer, a well-meaning character with good intention and his interpretations of situations lead to mishaps. Co-starring is Sarah Earnshaw as Betty Spencer, Frank’s long suffering wife and Susie Blake, his mother in law who disapproves him and their marriage.
Frank Spencer (Pasquale) goes about his personal and family business with mishaps along the way which is hilarious and certainly brings the house down, literally as well as figuratively, with a number of DIY accidents from good intentions turned into shabby unauthorised workmanship. The interpretation of events as the plot unfolds have a double edge sword and innuendoes which appears that Frank has missed the point but the audience certainly haven’t. The dialogue is suggestive and cleverly written at a time where the real meaning, if said directly, is considered taboo as it defied the traditional attitudes and conventions then. Social etiquette is intended but becomes farcical with innocent like actions. With prolonged pauses the audience can pre-empt what may or may not happen.
Simon Higlett’s set works very work well with the production with each drama orientated DIY/structural mishaps perfectly timed and Matt Haskins’ lighting and Ian Horrocks-Taylor’s soundscapes to compliment it. One can think of a similar vein to the staging of Mischief Theatre’s The Play That Goes Wrong.
Pasquale, a successful comedian and actor in his own right, certainly is the star and his unmissable charm perfectly portrays the role of Frank Spencer. He certainly puts his talent, heart and soul into the performance and reaches deeply to the audience who reel with continuous laughter from the very beginning. Rest of the cast gives stellar performances for their character portrayals to make Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em successful.
Laughter and applauses from beginning to end and nostalgia and fashion from the 1970s are reminisced. A very entertaining evening and some no doubt will go down Memory Lane. Sitcoms, like farces, aspire to ordinary people with uneventful lives which become extraordinary with physical comedy. It is shown that many households whose family lives has or had centred on the successful sitcoms in then that “golden era”.
Whether one is a Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em fan or not this is a production that a ticket should be prioritised for a good evening out.