Joe Pasquale is working his way through stage versions of shows that were landmark moments in his childhood.
After loving being part of Mel Brooks’ The Producers and thoroughly enjoying time on stage in Monty Python’s Spamalot, Joe is Frank Spencer in a new theatrical version of the ’70s TV comedy, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em.
Dates include The Hawth, Crawley, May 21-26
It sounds like perfect casting… and it happened very naturally with a perfect Frank Spencer moment.
“I was playing Spamalot in the West End, and I was King Arthur in three layers of costume, and it was incredibly hot in the dressing room,” Joe recalls.
“There was a big fan that wasn’t working in there, so I was trying to fix it. I took it apart and put it back together again, and it worked for 30 seconds before the whole thing blew up!
“(The director) Guy Unsworth was there with Chris Luscombe, and Guy just said ‘that is just completely Frank Spencer!’ and the whole thing just clicked in his mind. We had been trying to find another project together, and it just seemed right.”
For Joe and the company, which includes Sarah Earnshaw and Susie Blake, a big part of the attraction is that it is a completely new script by Guy Unsworth.
“It’s a new story about Frank wanting to go on a talent show and Betty is pregnant.
“I grew up with this show, and really Frank Spencer is my life. It feels like there is no acting required. But I am not doing it is as Michael Crawford with lots of ‘Oooh Betty!’ I think the reason that worked for Michael Crawford is because I believe there is a lot of Michael in Frank Spencer. If you watch Michael in something like Hello Dolly, you can see a lot of Frank Spencer still in Michael, and that’s why it works.”
And that’s why Joe is keen to take a similar approach – by putting his own personality into the character of Frank.
“We will obviously still be keeping to the confines of the character, but the danger, the biggest problem would be to end up doing a bad impression of Michael Crawford.”
So what does Joe feel he needs to get across as Frank?
“I think it is his naivety. It is also his resilience. He just keeps on coming back. And it is also the exasperation. The show is also about Betty.”
From that initial incident with the fan to getting the show on the road has been two years in all, Joe says. His role in the script preparation has been to prepare for the stunt work: “It has been so great. It is so exciting.”
Whether Michael Crawford gets to see it, Joe isn’t so sure: “He lives in New Zealand, but we’d love to invite him. I would be petrified if he was sitting in the audience one day!
“I remember once with Spamalot. There were a lot of police around the building, and they wouldn’t tell us who was coming to see the show, but it turned out to be a royal visit, and it was great to see Prince Charles and Camilla sitting three rows back from the front. Prince Charles wrote us a note afterwards saying he enjoyed the show and that it was great to see his great, great, great, great grandad (Arthur) on the stage!”
Tickets cost £23.50-£36.50. Call the box office on 01293 553636 or visit www.hawth.co.uk or call the box office on 01342 302000.
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