Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em at The Alexandra, Birmingham - Review

Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em at The Alexandra, Birmingham - Review


Posted 2022-07-20 by Andy Colemanfollow

Tue 19 Jul 2022 - Sat 23 Jul 2022

Let me take you back to 1973 – it was 'the year of the strike' as workers around the country took industrial action, and there was an energy crisis thanks to an Arab oil embargo. There was some welcome light relief on TV with the debut of a new sitcom, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, which went on to run for three series and three Christmas specials.

In 2022, not much has changed! Strikes are threatened, petrol prices have peaked at over £2 a litre and, thankfully, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em is back, this time on stage.

For the UK theatre tour, which stops off at Birmingham's Alexandra until July 23, top funnyman Joe Pasquale is the accident-prone Frank Spencer, the role played on TV by Michael Crawford . For many, Crawford's Frank Spencer will never be bettered but Joe brings his own brand of comedy magic to the character. The familiar moves and mannerisms – shoulder shrugs, facial tics – are present and correct but Joe's malapropisms and tongue-twisting explanations of simple situations delighted the opening night Alexandra audience (who had to endure stifling heat on the UK's hottest ever day).

The show, written and directed by Guy Unsworth , based on scripts by Some Mothers creator Raymond Allen , sees Frank dreaming of a career as a magician. He has auditioned for a local revue and is set to meet with a BBC producer for a spot in a TV talent contest. There's the added complication that his wife, Betty, is waiting for the right moment to tell him she's pregnant.

There's no doubt that this is Joe Pasquale's show but he gets sterling support from Sarah Earnshaw as Betty, Moray Treadwell as the BBC's Mr Luscombe and bank manager Mr Worthington, James Patterson as Father O'Hara, and Ben Watson as a BBC cameraman and a police officer. Best of the supports, though, is Susie Blake as Betty's mother. A familiar face on television (Coronation Street, for example), she comes into her own in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em after drinking a bottle of homemade plum wine. There's much to enjoy watching her, properly sozzled, flirting with anyone in trousers and having a dance.

Alongside some hilarious lines and clever wordplay, there is plenty of physical comedy and superb slapstick. Frank's DIY disasters are a rich source of laughs – a gold star to set designer Simon Higlett whose endeavours help bring the house down (go see the show to appreciate that observation!). There are also some nice '70s touches – the décor, references to Bruce Forsyth and Engelbert Humperdinck, and poptastic hits from the era. A choreographed routine to Dawn's Knock Three Times is simply surreal, while the curtain call to Mud's Tiger Feet brings this feelgood production to a fitting conclusion. A summertime treat!

Rating: & #9733 ;& #9733 ;& #9733 ;& #9733 ;& #9734 ;

#theatre -reviews
!date 19/07/2022 -- 23/07/2022
70716 - 2023-01-26 01:48:52


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