Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em at The Churchill Theatre

Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em is back by popular demand for a 2020 tour. This a comedy farce piece, originally written by Raymond Allen in the 1970’s, and ran for 23 episodes with the acclaimed actor Michael Crawford in the role of Frank Spencer. It is based around the accident-prone Frank Spencer and his, more than understanding wife, Betty. Frank seems to find himself in everyday situations where disaster always seems to follow him. Despite Franks ability to enrage people, he is fundamentally a very sympathetic and likeable character. He shows an enormous amount of enthusiasm for each situation but unfortunately, chaos inevitably occurs.

This superb version has been written and directed by the talented Guy Unsworth. Guy has always been a fan of the classic 1970’s British sitcoms and being such a huge fan of the original, seemed only too natural to produce such a great script for the stage. Joe Pasquale takes the role of the much-loved character Frank in the trade-mark trench coat and black beret. Joe has totally captured the character of Frank with his comedic timing, superb stunt work and laugh out loud moments and made it his own.

The story begins with Betty trying to tell Frank her exciting news but to no avail as he is distracted by the possibility of stardom as a magician. With the imminent arrival of guests for dinner, crossed wires from all those present, can only mean one thing. Confusion and misinterpretation!

The character of Betty, played superbly and sympathetically by Sarah Earnshaw, shows such understanding and patience with Frank when all around her disaster is happening, mainly due to Franks lack of DIY skills. From lights flickering, door bell ringing and water pipe leaking to name but a few. She constantly tries to sit Frank down and talk to him. However, they seem to go from one disaster to another and at each turn she never quite gets the opportunity to tell him.

Mrs Fisher, Betty’s mother normally played by Susie Blake, was being performed by the female understudy Jayne Fisher. Jayne has many credits to her, both television and theatre, and she certainly did not disappoint. She was flawless in her characterisation of the disapproving mother-in-law. She is also going through her own turmoil, but seems to be quite settled with Mr Worthington, the bank manager and with a little help from the prune wine!

Father O’Hara, played by David Shaw-Parker showed great sympathy towards the long-suffering wife Betty and was a delight to watch. Moray Treadwell doubled up as Mr Luscombe and Mr Worthington and seamlessly switched between both contrasting characters. The characters of Desmond and the police constable were both played by Ben Watson. An accomplished performance for both showing some great comedy timing and seamless stunt work.

The set was an uncomplicated, but very effective, home setting. Although it didn’t move, the simple sliding walls and effects gave great atmosphere to take us through the various rooms of a home moving from scene to scene without distraction. The scenes in the kitchen were very effective and you could see all the action from anywhere you sat in the theatre. The visual effects were amazing. So, a huge well done must go to all the technical teams involved. The lighting was sympathetic to the setting and the lighting effects were flawless. The sound was clean and without fault throughout.

As a child of the 70’s, I remember the original version of Some Mothers Do ‘Have ‘Em and although I loved it then, I wasn’t sure how it would transpose to the stage. Well, I was not disappointed. I, and the entire audience, were swept along with many laugh out loud moments, some surprising elements and, more importantly, some good old-fashioned slapstick farcical humour. I would totally recommend this show to anyone of any age that just wants a light-hearted, feel good night out of entertainment. Please go along and support this fabulous production. Currently on tour throughout the UK. A show not to be missed!

Review by Sally Smith

Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em is on at The Churchill Theatre until 29th February. To buy tickets for Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em visit the Churchill Theatre’s website.

If you like this review you might also like my review for La Cage Aux Folles (the Play), You Stupid Darkness and Curtains.

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