07 March 2018 (released)
08 March 2018
The 70s were a glorious age for TV almost it's heyday, certainly for comedy. Scheduling was so much simpler then, there were only three channels and we even had to walk over to the TV to change them. The audience were still getting used to colour as Michael Crawford bumbled his way into our living rooms as the hapless Frank Spencer. It's a name that has forever been associated with happy childhood memories for me. A family event young and old would gather for the weekly shenanigans, much like the auditorium here at the wonderful Richmond Theatre brimming with expectation.
Even before the red curtains parted, as soon as the familiar theme tune sounded we were back in sitcom land. Sarah Earnshaw delivered classic Betty, every inclination clearly studied in the opening scene with the errant David Shaw-Parker as Father O'Hare. "Betty I'm home" heralded Frank's entry warmly greeted with laughter. Dressed in the classic beret and Mac Joe Pasquale assumed his own take on Frank's vocal character, his natural inflection befitting the role.
The well worked story line offers up plenty of DIY disasters, inuendo and one liners for the faithful. As the tale unfolds Frank naturally gets himself caught up in a series of spiralling mishaps on his mission to secure his big break on TV.
Written and directed by Guy Unsworth, original screen writer Raymond Allen must have approved I'm sure. For me, Pasquale could have taken more from the original and gained a few extra laughs in the process. An "Ooh Betty" or two would not have gone amiss for this die-hard fan. That said it's a show that stands on its own merits and and doesn't need to resort to pastiche. What remains is our endless affection for the loveable imbecile.
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