REVIEW: A ‘Feast of Fun’ ★★★★ Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, Richmond Theatre

I remember my mum and dad watching the classic television show Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em when I was a child. And although I didn’t understand all of the jokes, I do remember finding it very funny, if not a bit strange.

The 70s TV show – by Raymond Allen – inspired Guy Unsworth to write an adaptation for the stage, which is currently touring the country and has brought some mayhem to Richmond Theatre this week.

The comedy play takes on a single episode in the life of the ill-fated Frank Spencer – played by Joe Pasquale. His ever-tolerant wife Betty has discovered she is pregnant and at the same time Frank is pursuing a new career as a magician. A cacophony of catastrophe ensues when his mother-in-law and her new beau arrive for dinner and the BBC turn up to do a feature.

Everything that can go wrong does; mother-in-law gets legless on homemade wine, the house falls apart and the dinner blows up, but the great thing about this and the original television series is the heart warming human story at the centre. We’ve all felt a bit like Frank Spencer at one time or another and Joe Pasquale does a great job of capturing the anxiety and sensitivity of the character.

That said, one of the things I remember so well about Michael Crawford’s portrayal of Frank Spencer, apart from the classic beret and trench coat, was the awkward physicality and athleticism and Pasquale doesn’t fully grasp the physical comedy side with his performance.

Sarah Earnshaw brings some real warmth and composure to the role of Betty however, while Susie Blake is absolutely hilarious as the rampant, sloshed mother-in-law. There is also great support from David Shaw-Parker as the kindly Father O’Hara, Chris Kiely as the wet behind the ears Desmond and Moray Treadwell, who dual roles as the pompous Terry Luscombe and slightly seedy David Worthington.

Simon Higlett must be congratulated for the set design, which helps to add slapstick fun and Jenny Arnold for the choreography; the final sequence with the three Franks on the stairs and the finale routine to Mud’s “Tiger Feet” are a real highlight.

I can see how this wouldn’t be for everyone; lots of the humour is a bit dated and rather silly, but if you’re after an easy night out watching amusing and familiar characters, you’ll enjoy this feast of fun.

Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em continues to tour the UK. You can find all the information and tour dates here.


We talk to comedian Tom Green ahead of his first Shepherd’s Bush Empire gig

Londoners will get a rare chance to see the internationally acclaimed funny man, Tom Green later this month, when he brings his latest stand-up show to the Islington O2 Academy, writes Nicky Sweetland.

The Canadian comedian is performing at the venue for the first time as part of his tour entitled European Comedy Road Trip and is looking forward to the challenge of tickling the ribs of one of the most notoriously critical audiences in the world.

Tom said: “I’m very excited to be here; it’s my first tour of the full UK ever.”

Tom rose to fame via his MTV series The Tom Green Show, but has enjoyed a varied career as a performer with roles in the films Road Trip, Charlie’s Angels and Shred and a hugely successful career as a rap music star.

Stand-up is Tom’s first love however and he told me, “I started doing stand-up when I was a teenager and I always wanted to return to it. I was doing this Internet television show about 10 years ago that people all over the world were watching online. I realised I had fans in different countries so I thought it might be fun to bring the show to them.”

Tom now spends most of his time touring and he finds he gets a very different response from audiences around the world.

“I like all different kinds of crowds; that’s what I like about touring. I don’t mind when it gets really crazy and raucous but I also like it when people are listening to what I have to say.” Tom explains, “That’s what’s exciting about it; you really don’t know what you’re walking in to. It gives you an adrenaline rush, that’s for sure”

I ask Tom where he gets the inspiration for his material.

“Sometimes it’s things that anger me. Definitely it’s things that seem absurd and ridiculous to me. I’m always taking notes and sometimes, if things seem strange, I jot them down on my phone and try to remember them later. I talk about it on stage and over time it gets formed into a joke. That’s, kind of, the process.”

Tom said: “I’ve started to do a lot of improv. I like to pull comedy out of the crowd and create some spontaneous energy in the room.”

Tom found further fruitful content from when he endured a stint on the US version of the Apprentice, which was hosted by a certain resident of the White House.

“I talk a lot about my old boss Donald Trump. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of him, but he’s now the president of the United States of America. I had an interesting experience with him and so I found some stories and jokes that I can tell.”

Tom is currently touring the UK, whilst filming a behind the scenes exposé of the tour, which will be released later this year.

Tom Green will perform two shows at the Islington O2 Academy on 17 June at 6pm and 8pm.

Adam Kay brings his Fingering a Minor on the Piano show to the Soho Theatre

Following a critically acclaimed total sell-out season in April, Adam Kay will make his highly anticipated return to London’s Soho Theatre when he performs his Fingering a Minor on the Piano show to the venue next week.

In this brand new collection of wonderfully off-kilter music and stand-up, Adam is in reflective mood – taking a look back at his former job as a hospital doctor. At a time when junior doctors have rarely been out of the papers, the man who brought the world the iconic London Underground Song tells personal and painfully funny stories about his career and his decision to hang up his white coat six years ago.

Amateur Transplants frontman Adam has built up a fan base the size of which most comedians would happily sell their kidneys for. With sell-out tours and nine sell-out Edinburgh Fringe seasons, his cutting-edge, darkly humorous re-imaginings of modern day pop and rock classics have gained him a cult following throughout the UK.

Adam Kay is a versatile comedy writer and performer, whose work spans narrative and sketch for TV, stage and radio including BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, Radio 4 and Channel 4. He also works as a script editor and gag writer and collaborates with a number of well-known comedy acts. Recent credits include his original comedy series, Crims, co-written with Dan Swimer, for the BBC, Very British Problems, Flat TV, The Now Show and Mongrels and is also a regular voice on The Now Show. Adam started out life as a doctor but after a brief medical career, he swapped his white coat for a microphone. He fronted the popular musical comedy act Amateur Transplants, whose iconic London Underground Song had over 10 million hits on iTunes. Amateur Transplants have produced four number one albums in the iTunes comedy charts and won a 2014 London Cabaret Award.

Adam Kay will bring his Fingering a Minor on the Piano show to Soho Theatre from 18 – 20 May.