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Moray Treadwell and David Shaw-Parker on Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em

Winterson’s actors Moray Treadwell and David Shaw-Parker have both been cast in the upcoming UK Tour of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, directed by Guy Unsworth. We sat down with the two actors to ask about the audition process, find out a little more about the show, and get their wider views on the current state of the industry today.

Please tell us how your role in the show came about, and what the audition process was like…

David: “Well it all started when I went to see Guy, Guy Unsworth, who has written and is directing Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. I went to see him for a play called Of Mice and Men. We got on famously and I remember I read for him and he was a really great guy.. and then he didn’t get in touch! So I thought oh, strange we got on so well, and he didn’t get in touch for about two weeks. And then Niki, our agent rang, and said ‘Oh Guy wants to see you for another play’. We met again and Guy said ‘Oh I’m so sorry I didn’t get back in touch all the way through I was thinking you’d be good for Mice and Men, but you’d be better for Some Mothers Do Av Em!’ So I went to see him again, along with the producers on Tottenham Court Road, and having known the series from the seventies I had a chat with Guy and he rang back a couple of days later and said come and do it.”

Moray: “So I got a call a couple of days later to say yes they would like to see me again. And then it was for a different part! So it was from Irish to Scotts, for Mr Worthington. They are such good fun, and they obviously care about what they’re doing, this is what I found anyway. They were having such a ball in the audition process, where you think people could be jaded and they clearly weren’t they were having a laugh. That’s infectious. I mean they obviously care about it, that’s their baby, but they really do care about the play. So that was the process saw them twice and then that was it, got a call.”

When we think about the television show, it takes us back to the wonderful, high energy performances of Frank Spencer – will this type of slapstick translate into the stage production of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em?

David: “I think it probably will be a high energy show. Certainly for Joe, Joe Pasquale, who’s playing the Frank Spencer part. It will be very high energy for him. It is a comedy, I think there will be quite a lot of slapstick in there, and I remember the TV show from the seventies – but I didn’t watch it! Because I had a natural in-built suspicion for anything that was commercially successful, thinking that was probably not good for the average creative psyche.”

“So I didn’t bother with some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, I was listening to the blues and much more sort of virtuous stuff like that! And missing, I have to say, one of the most successful TV comedy series of all time. I’ve only found that out having read Guy’s script which is so good, and Guy couldn’t have even been born back then, but it’s so funny and so faithful to the original.”

Moray: “Well the character is Mr Worthington, who’s probably a rather dour bank manager. And I think as David was saying, Mr Pasquale’s going to have to work his ‘whatevers’ off, because it is very, very physical. All of these characters have obviously been put into a situation, it’s a situation comedy, where we’re all sort of straight people and we’re all sort of foils for this guy. But once people are onstage, without giving too much away, we’re onstage. So everybody has got to do what they’ve got to do all the time.”

Some Mothers represents another good example of a strong, mainstream concept being taken across theatres throughout the UK. Do you think this reflects an industry that is in good shape right now and what do you like about the current trends?

Moray: “Well on that I’ve got a real passion for the musicals and thankfully (particularly these days) I think they’re still very strong in town. But equally, plays are still there and I think they’re really healthy.”

David: “When I started, Equity was quite a closed shop and you couldn’t work unless you had an Equity card. And that was such a barrier. If you were lucky enough to get one, you had gold-dust. And it isn’t like that now. A lot of actors my age say it was better when it was a closed shop, and you go well, was it really? Actually, it is nice to have new blood and new energy. For instance, the standup comedy thing crossing over into our business is very exciting. The performances are just as moving, and a generation deserves to see itself reflected in the stars of the day, or the names of the day. So I think it’s in a good place. There’s a lot going on, there’s a lot I don’t understand and would like to understand more, and that’s very healthy.”

You can find out more about the upcoming UK Tour here.