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Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton - review with pictures

By Alison Norton | Theatre & Comedy | Published: | Last Updated:

Though it ran for just 22 episodes across three series, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em is without doubt one of the best-loved comedies in BBC history.

Joe Pasquale as Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do 'Av 'Em. Photo by: Scott Rylander

The popular sitcom was where Michael Crawford brought to life the irrepressible, lovable, accident-prone fool, Frank Spencer.

It’s a hard act to follow, but if you have a comedian who is talented enough to make the character their very own, yet still retain his personal hilarious traits, then why not create a new stage adaptation and bring Frank and his pals to a new generation?

Writer and director Guy Unsworth has done a superb job of achieving just that; bringing this classic comedy to the stage. There are moments of total confusion, but then I guess that is part of the appeal of the show.

Sarah Earnshaw as Betty & Joe Pasquale as Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do 'Av 'Em. Picture by: Scott Rylander

The storyline, from what I could gather, surrounded Frank wanting to secure a spot as a magician in a show at the local civic hall. He is thrilled when the BBC comes visiting, wanting to make a documentary about him, while Betty has some special news of her own to tell him, but the moment never seems right. Chaos, of course, ensues.

Joe Pasquale wisely avoids an impersonation of the original Frank, though the iconic beret and raincoat did make a brief appearance.

It was Frank, but in Joe's own style - complete with the amusing voice. Joe’s trademark tones rather than the 'Oooh Betty' of Michael’s era worked to perfection. It was irritating, but not too irritating; just funny, in fact.

Joe is without doubt one of the very best physical comedians around, and coupled with his ability to deliver the complex, tongue-twisting lines to perfection, it made for not only a superb performance, but a hysterical one too.

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Sarah Earnshaw as Betty & Joe Pasquale as Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do 'Av 'Em. Picture by: Scott Rylander

Even though the comedy is now a little dated, his clever portrayal of the hapless but endearing Frank is excellent and I really cannot think of anyone who could do the role better. I even saw flashes of the late, great Sir Norman Wisdom about him which can only be a good thing.

The show had a small but perfectly formed cast who were obviously very comfortable working together.

Sarah Earnshaw was charming as Frank’s long-suffering wife Betty and though every single scene is comical, there were moments of pure romance and affection between Betty and Frank which showcased the versatility of the actors.

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Sarah Earnshaw as Betty, Joe Pasquale as Frank Spencer, Susie Blake as Mrs Fisher & Moray Treadwell as Mr Luscombe in Some Mothers Do 'Av 'Em. Picture by: Scott Rylander

Coronation Street’s Susie Blake played Barbara Frank’s mother-in-law to perfection. She made a wonderfully funny drunk, desperately disappointed in her daughter’s choice of husband.

Moray Treadwell played the dual roles of Terry Luscombe and David Worthington, all part of the plot of course, as did Chris Kiely as Desmond and the constable. David Shaw-Parker made the perfect Irish Father O’Hara and together they made an excellent supporting cast of three.

It was a one-set show, based around Frank and Betty’s living room, which on the surface seemed pretty ordinary, but later in the play as the chaos increased, the kitchen and bathroom areas appeared too.

Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em is just deliciously daft, or as they say in the Black Country, simply saft.

Sarah Earnshaw as Betty, Moray Treadwell as Mr Luscombe & Joe Pasquale as Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do 'Av 'Em. Picture by: Scott Rylander

It's a good old British comedy guaranteed to have you rolling in the aisles with tears of laughter streaming down your cheeks.

Runs until Saturday.

Call 01902 429212 or visit www.grandtheatre.co.uk for tickets.

Alison Norton

By Alison Norton
@AlisonNorton

Theatre critic and unofficial 'am dram queen' for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star

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