Writer/Director: Stephen Fletcher
Like your tipsy auntie in platform boots clutching a port and lemon, Liverpool’s much-loved disco rom-com Mam! I’m ‘Ere is back on the dancefloor. The offbeat, Abba-free pastiche of Mamma Mia! – which swaps the sun-kissed Greek shore for stormy North Wales coast – is stepping out in style for the fourth time.
It remains a family affair on and offstage with much of the same cast returning to the far from idyllic island holiday camp Boogie Wonderland. Owner Dave (Andrew Schofield) and best mates Alf (Liam Tobin) and Teddy (Alan Stocks) are trying to keep the show on the road until the site is sold at the end of the season… But Sally, Dave’s Daughter (Hayley Sheen), who is about to get married to camp singer Charlie (Michael Fletcher), has a secret plan tucked up her bell sleeve to find her long lost mother. By inventing a competition as a ploy, she invites three of her dad’s old flames as winners in the hope that she could find her mum in time for the big day. What follows is an energetic and fast-paced story of lost love and misunderstanding which is both hilarious and touching, all set against a pumping live soundtrack of disco classics.
Writer/director Stephen Fletcher has created a simple yet powerful show with genuine family appeal and the experienced cast know how to perform all the moves. Schofield’s Dave is the stand-out performance – lovingly played, gently with winks, ad-libs, head shakes and cheeky asides, and the relationship with daughter Sally feels authentic. The three very different former girlfriends are all brilliantly portrayed. Lynn Francis’s hapless mystic (Mandy) delights with rambling tales from the Wirral while Lindzi Germain’s Julie brings a tsunami of Scouse energy – cracking jokes and throwing glances like a one-woman hen party. Kacey Ainsworth completes the dynamic sisterhood with her softer southerner, Brenda – a newcomer to a fairly established cast but not so you would notice. The onstage chemistry is electric – the actors never seem to miss a beat.
Mark Walters’ clever campsite set – rising up the hill in levels like a wedding cake, dotted with toy caravans – allows the action to flow without interruption. A pumping three-piece band keep the story ticking along with discrete accompaniment then cranking it up for the songs which all land well.
First performed in the city’s Grand Central Hall 2012, before moving to the Royal Court in 2016 and 2018, the production is a perfect match for the homegrown roster. It works well with the stalls’ cabaret seating layout – which allows audiences to join in and get on their feet.
Mam I’m ‘Ere has earned its place on the city’s musical theatre playlist and looks set to delight theatre crowds for years to come.
Runs until 16 July 2022