Comedy and TV legend, Joe Pasquale, will be returning for ’round two’ of playing Frank Spencer in the stage adaptation of the hit 70s TV show Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em.
Joe tells Vicky Edwards about his return to the roll.
Before Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em embarked upon its inaugural tour, the producers were adamant: the Stage Manager must be equipped with a well-stocked first aid kit.
“Oh blimey, yes!” says the effervescent Joe Pasquale, once again playing Frank Spencer, the character made famous on TV in the 1970s and who had the nation chorusing ‘Ooh, Betty!’
“I do it all – hanging by my ankles and all sorts. During rehearsals the bloke choreographing the stunts fell down the stairs [of the set]and caught his knackers on the bannister. All he could suggest by way of reassurance was that I’d better wear a box. I mean, he was a professional stunt man and I had to do it every night!”
And now, after rave reviews and support from the public, Joe will be on stage as Frank once again.
“I don’t do it as Michael’s Frank Spencer; that would be an insult to Michael. I’m putting my personality into it,” he explains.
“Frank isn’t childish, he believes in what he’s doing. The relationship between him and Betty is a love story. He might always mess up, but she loves him anyway. For it to work she has to; otherwise he’d just be an idiot.”
Joe loves that it’s a family friendly show and nods his agreement when Vicky suggests that with the ‘Goes Wrong’ series booming, and successful recent revivals of comedies such as Noises Off, there seems to be renewed enthusiasm for family comedy.
“Some Mothers is two hours of surgically tight performance. It is a show without malice or aggression and it is sweet, touching and very funny, and it has real heart.”
“People want comedy during times of uncertainty. Every single day [of the first tour]was a joy and a blessing. To get the audience laughing as much as they did was just wonderful.
Joe added: “Guy Unsworth [director and writer]is a real talent,” admitting that on meeting “this very well spoken young lad who looked like an American football player” he questioned what the youngster could possibly teach him about comedy.
“I soon realised that he’s a natural. He suggests the smallest change; a tiny nuance to get the comedy out of a line, and he’s always right. This kid is a classic comedy anorak who really knows his stuff.”
Joined by Susie Blake as Mrs Fisher, Frank’s disapproving mother-in-law; Moray Treadwell as Mr Luscombe; David Shaw-Parker as Father O’Hara and Ben Watson as Desmond, playing his long-suffering wife Betty is Spamalot co-star Sarah Earnshaw. Also in the cast are Peter F Gardiner and Jayne Ashley.
“Susie is an experienced comic actress and she’s brilliant in the show. Sarah’s role is more difficult. She has to be softer and likeable,” says Joe, confessing that not ever having trained as an actor he needed Guy’s help.
“She’ll give a tiny head shake that nobody else notices. It means ‘I know you’re about to do something and DON’T!’ She calls me the Unstoppable Moron,” he chuckles.
“Touring in Some Mothers is a lot easier than my stand-up show. Then I usually do forty one-nighters. A week in one place is a holiday,” he beams, adding that there are certain places he is particularly looking forward to.
“I’m looking forward to going back to Poole. The theatre is welcoming and the audiences are great…The Lighthouse is a smashing venue and has real intimacy, which is perfect for Some Mothers”.
As for the future, there are hopes that Some Mothers may continue to delight audiences, both at home and abroad. Watch this space.
Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em will return to Lighthouse on Tuesday 3 to Saturday 7 March 2020, 7.30pm (2.30pm on Wednesday and Saturday matinee).
Read our previous article on Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em here.