Written By: Mark Armstrong
Date: July 16 2018
Location: Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool
Before the play begins, we see two disco dancers in white afro wigs getting the audience to clap along, with Donna Summer music playing in the background. The scenery is of an old caravan site, which has seen better days and has no visitors (the set was very good, with the illusion of vans and caravans going up the hill).
From there, the 70s music is blasting out as Sally begins singing Wishing On A Star in a melancholy way. Her dad Dave owns the site, and she’s due to get married the next day. But one thing is missing: her mum. As a baby, Sally was left on Dave’s doorstep with a note in her hand, saying “Only one today”, which was for the benefit of the milkman!
Dave had apparently had a liaison with a woman, and Sally was the result. They had never looked for her mother, but with the upcoming nuptials on the horizon, Sally wanted her mum to be there, but hadn’t told her dad that she was looking for her.
Sally had found three possible mothers, and invited them to the caravan site on the pretence that they had all won a free holiday there. The three “candidates” were Julie, Mandy and Brenda; they were all very different, but as the story unfolds, we learn that it could be anyone of them.
Meanwhile, Dave and his two friends/workmates, who were all “Yellow Coats”, are preparing for the wedding, but unbeknownst to Dave, his pals are planning to leave the caravan site after the wedding; one of them, Ted, plans to become a preacher, whilst the other wishes to become a professional wedding planner, but was really hoping for a lottery win.
Dave confided in them that he was upset when Sally had suggested finding her mother, and he had dissuaded her as he’d only loved one woman for all of his life, though he was still unaware that Sally had continued to look. In the meantime, “Sweaty Barry” was planning to provide the drinks, but it’s revealed that the wedding dress was stuck on the mainland.
The three girls arrive, all excited, and various 70s classics are performed. The three men are also excited to see some female company, unaware of the situation and that Sally is eager for her dad not to meet any of them. Still, the guys arrange a disco for them all, with the males appearing as the Bee Gees (known here as the GB’s)! Andrew Schofield put in a surprising and extraordinary dancing effort, but there was fantastic dancing and singing from the girls too, who were on stage for much of this scene. However, Sally’s fiancé Simon gets wind of the situation, and eventually Dave cottons onto the fact that one of them is Sally’s mother; suddenly, the wedding is in jeopardy.
The second half begins with Sally being upset that things have gone wrong. She hasn’t told the girls what is going on, but all three try to reassure her that everything will be okay, and that she will make up with her father and fiancé . By the way, Sally is a very good singer, and particularly proved that fact during this part of the show.
Sally apologises to Dave and Simon, and the wedding is back on, but with a snag; she has no dress! Meanwhile, the three girls are preparing to leave, but Brenda goes back for the ferry tickets to find Sally crying. She helps her by providing a dress that the three “tourists” have made for her. Sally drops a card with a note that Dave had given her, and Brenda is shocked. The note is the “Only one today” hint for the milkman from when Sally was abandoned, a note that only Brenda will have seen before.
Meanwhile, we come to the church, which is at the top of the hill (again we have an excellent set for the background here), and there’s another problem: nobody is present to wed the couple. Up steps Ted who has now qualified to become a preacher, certificate and all, and it’s decided that he can marry Sally and Simon. It’s a ceremony like no other, with a funkadelic version of Hallelujah, and eventually they become man and wife.
But Brenda rushes in and demands to have a confession, where she admits years ago to have fallen pregnant, but because of her strict father, she left the baby on Dave’s doorstep. She has never forgiven herself, and Dave can’t believe that it’s her; she was the love of his life, and he never got over her. Sally is asked by Brenda “Can you forgive me?” She replies “Mam, I’m ‘Ere!”
To top off the happy ending, one of the three girls – Mandy, who claims to be a psychic – notes that she and the other Yellow Coats have won the lottery, as they had talked about earlier. So, in the end, she could help Dave save the caravan site. Everybody sings and dances, encouraging the audience to join in.
Summing the show up, it was a great night out, especially if you enjoy 70s disco music. The costumes were suitably nostalgic, the cast (headed up by Andrew Schofield) were entertaining and did a great job, and this all made for one of the better shows at the Royal Court in a while, with even the swearing at a minimum. Add to that great sets, superb scenery, strong supporting dancers, colourful lighting and a really good band which all added to the fun atmosphere, and you have quite the treat with Mam I’m ‘Ere!
Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding