Joe Pasquale interview
Joe Pasquale interview
As he heads to Guildford and Richmond in Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, the top entertainer tells us why this is his best role yet
Playing Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em is a dream-come-true for popular entertainer Joe Pasquale. “I just get to be myself,” he laughs. “There’s no acting involved – just me mucking about!”
The play, based on the hugely popular 70s sitcom, first toured in 2018 and has won plaudits aplenty. It’s heading to Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in April and Richmond in May. Susie Blake (Coronation Street, The Victoria Wood Show, Blithe Spirit) stars as his disapproving mother-in-law and Sarah Earnshaw as his long-suffering wife Betty.
The TV show owed much of its popularity to the talents of actor Michael Crawford, whose hapless Frank had viewers in stitches. But Joe says he never wanted to emulate how Michael played him. “It was important to be me and to project my own personality on to the role.”
Joe’s risen to the occasion. Audiences are loving it. So too is Joe. But it does have its challenges. “It’s 126 pages of dialogue and I’m in all of them so it took some learning. It’s like learning War & Peace.”
“It’s also a very physical play. It requires careful choreography. And the TV show was known for its stunts so we’ve done that with the stage version too. The house literally falls down, I fall down the stairs… we had a stuntman come in and he was showing me how to fall down safely. I was worried when he got up saying ‘ouch’ – I have to fall down them every day, often with two shows a day!”
The tour has another six months to run. Joe is loving touring but says, “The downside is you’re so busy that you don’t really get to see the towns much. I am looking forward to coming to Guildford and Richmond though as they are both lovely theatres.”
Next for Joe is what seems to be a total change – a documentary on Dracula… but as Joe explains, “I am a big horror fan and I wrote my second collection of horror stories in lockdown, Deadknobs and Doomsticks 2. “This year is the 125th anniversary of Dracula being published so it will be a great time to do it.”
He admits that his dream day off would be to, “Stay in bed, and binge horror movies on Netflix.”
As well as his comedy and acting, Joe is known for being a bit of an action man, having taken up boxing, undertaken a marathon and got a pilot’s licence, “I was actually scared of flying…” he says. So, why does he do all these things? “Because one day I won’t be able to do any of that,” says Joe whose philosophy is, ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’.
Joe also participated in a celebrity edition of Total Wipeout against the likes of Fatima Whitbread and Sally Gunnell; attempted to smash the ‘most amount of martial arts throws in a minute’ on Guinness World Records Smashed; spent time in a Costa Rican prison for Virgin One’s The Prisoner X documentary season and stayed in the jungles of Guyana for the Discovery Channel’s Alone in the Wild series.
Joe’s career has spanned 30 years of stand-up, he’s voiced characters for Garfield: A Tale of Two Kittens and starred in The Muppets’ 25th Anniversary show – the latter came about as he’d met those behind The Muppets at the Royal Variety Show – “They wanted me to do it – I think they thought I was a human muppet…”
Along with his current part of Frank, Joe says his other favourite roles have been in Mel Brooks’ The Producers in 2007 – “I grew up watching Mel Brooks,” he says. And, as a big fan of Monty Python, he loved joining Spamalot in the starring role of King Arthur.
With his trademark squeaky voice and affable style, he’s long been a favourite figure in stand-up comedy and on stage and screen. So, what makes good comedy? He says… “My humour is all knock about stuff, quite scattergun, that’s what makes me laugh.”
Frank is the perfect vehicle for his physical comedy. “The play is perfect for now – it will make you laugh and that’s what we all need right now.”
Some Mothers Do Ave Em
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre: Tue 5 – Sat 9 April
Richmond Theatre: May 31 – June 4