The instantly recognisable theme tune of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em immediately transported the excited audience back to the golden age of the sitcom and as the curtain rose, we were welcomed back to the home of Frank and Betty Spencer!
Sarah Earnshaw was perfectly suited to the role of long-suffering wife, Betty. Her timing and rapport with the other actors was second to none and her facial expressions had the audience belly-laughing before she even said a word!
A spontaneous round of applause welcomed Joe Pasquale onto the stage as the hapless but loveable Frank. He was able to recreate some of Michael Crawford’s mannerisms perfectly, but his signature vocal tone reminded us constantly that we were still watching Joe Pasquale.
Timing was everything in this well-rehearsed and well-drilled production, directed by Guy Unsworth. Not only was the comic timing perfectly executed in the fast-paced dialogue but the amount of physical comedy and moments of pure genius when pictures fell from the wall, only to be caught by the actors within a split second showed immense skill and preparation!
David Shaw-Parker’s vocal nuances and tone were perfect for Father O’Hara and immediately took me back to the priest in the original TV series who tried so hard to be patient with Frank but was constantly pushed to the limits of a man of the cloth!
Mr Luscombe and his secret alter-ego, Mr Worthington (Moray Treadwell) was an excellent addition to the cast and played two very contrasting characters with versatility and aplomb. He was ably supported by Mr Worthington’s assistant Desmond, played by Chris Kiely. Chris looked every bit the part of a 1970s TV production assistant and transformed into the upright police constable seamlessly.
Susie Blake played Betty’s mother Barbara and was a joy to watch as the evening’s story unfolded. Her penchant for the prune wine allowed for some hilarious consequences but her drunken characterisation was subtle and never too over-the-top, making every facial expression and stagger perfect and had the audience roaring!
Personally, the storyline and content in Act II became just slightly too ridiculous for me and took away from the performances. I felt that occasionally there was too long spent on just one joke and that these jokes were milked for all they were worth and the expense of a believable conclusion to the story. However, Guy Unsworth’s clever fusing together of favourite scenes from across the three series of this iconic sitcom brought back wonderful memories and certainly gave the audience a feel-good evening of real laughter and joy.
The set design (Simon Higlett) was complete perfection, allowing action to seamlessly move between the living room and the kitchen as well as creating brilliantly clever effects when Frank’s DIY clearly started to fall apart!
A must-see for any sitcom fans, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em runs at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Saturday, 19th May.
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