frank and betty

Sarah Earnshaw as Betty and Joe Pasquale as Frank Spencer. Pictures: Scott Rylander

Some Mothers Do ‘Av ‘Em

Wolverhampton Grand


Get ready for a laugh a second, rip roaring show, written and directed by Guy Unsworth, based on the popular TV series from the 1970s which had Michael Crawford as the hapless Frank Spencer.

From the moment the curtain rose the audience were in fits of belly laughs and, as expected, Joe Pasquale, (Frank), was greeted with enthusiastic applause at his first entrance.

And so, the running gags, absurd situations, overtly obvious tag lines and malapropisms were punched out at such a hectic pace that one can only liken them to an express train at full throttle!

Thankfully, there were a couple of welcome breathers when the dialogue was interspersed with the odd moment of calm, mostly between Frank and his ever-patient wife, Betty. Will she ever have the opportunity to tell him she is having a baby?

The storyline, as in most farcical plays, was unbelievably silly. Peppered with double entendres, innuendos, slapstick mishaps and a mesh of misunderstandings.

betty mother 

Susie Blake as Betty's mother, Mrs Fisher.

Throw a bunch of enthusiastic actors into the mix and you have the perfect ingredients for a fast, frenzy fuelled, frivolous farce.

Containing a few memorable lines and fragments from the original TV sitcom, the play captured the spirit well and the limitations of its transfer from screen to stage didn’t inhibit the stunts, athletically tackled with energetic enthusiasm by Joe Pasquale.

Also, he masters the challenging tongue twisting script with superb alacrity, best described perhaps as Olympic linguistics. Up for the gold medal on this one eh?

Lovely performances too from Sarah Earnshaw as Betty Spencer, Susie Blake as Betty’s mother, Moray Treadwell in dual roles, David Shaw-Parker as Father O’Hara and completing the cast, Chris Kiely.

It is all on a well-designed set that suggested the chaotic lifestyle of the Spencer’s, revealing some interesting surprises as the havoc unfolded.

One particular stand out moment was the cleverly choreographed snippet when we have ‘three Franks’ executing synchronised movements on the staircase. So funny.

Don’t expect sophisticated humour. To quote the oft used saying, ‘it does exactly what it says on the tin’.  So, if you want a couple of hours of unbridled fun, frolics and pants down farce you have until Saturday 19th May to catch this hilarious show. If you enjoy a good laugh with side splitting comedy, this is one to catch.

Elizabeth M Smith and Rosemary Manjunath.


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