reviewed at the Regent Theatre, Ipswich on 12 June
The popular television series of this title written by Raymond Allen ran during the 1970s, and it’s in this era that writer and director Guy Unsworth has set his new comedy.
As you may recall, accident-prone Frank Spencer manages to be sacked by a whole series of employers while his cack-handed attempts at home improvements constitute a separate recipe for disaster.
The role is a gift for any flexibly-limbed comedian, and Joe Pasquale takes full advantage of every opportunity. Around such a stealing performance, the supporting cast needs to work very hard to take a proper share of the limelight.
Sarah Earnshaw’s Betty, Frank’s long-suffering wife, manages to be something of a scene-stealer, from her opening exchange with parish priest Father O’Hara (David Shaw-Parker) through to the final dénouement.
Then there’s Betty’s mother, Mrs Fisher (Susie Blake), who has shed her husband to take up with bank manager Mr Worthington (Moray Treadwell); she’s a sultry battle-axe of a throughly recognisable kind.
Among Frank’s less likely get-rich-quick schemes is to develop his “magic” act to the extent that the BBC comes calling. I won’t spoil the plot turns for you; but simply say that nothing is quite what it seems…
Chris Kiely plays the policeman who eventually descends on the mayhem, as well as the BBC cameraman; Treadwell has a nice cameo as his boss Mr Luscombe.
Arguably the real stars of the show (Pasquale’s performance aside) are designer Simon Higlett and those under-sung heroes, the stage management team.
Lights flash and flicker, music centres blast out, kitchen appliances blow up, staircase banisters tumble while legs detach themselves from chairs and sofa on cue. It’s all great fun, whether you remember the original or come fresh to it all.
Four star rating.
Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em runs at the Regent Theatre, Ipswich until 16 June with matinées on 12 and 16 June. It can also be seen at the Theatre Royal, Norwich (9-14 July) and the Palace Theatre, Westcliff (24-28 July).