Super Sister Delight in The Liverpool Royal Court’s Mam! I’m ‘Ere!

Posted on 13 July 2015
By Chris High
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There are a number of firsts taking place during the current Liverpool Royal Court production of Mam! I’m ‘Ere! This is the first time the comedy’s writer Stephen Fletcher has directed at the theatre, it’s the time first time Stephen he has directed his brother, Michael, in a show, it is Andrew Schofield’s first appearance on The Royal Court stage since 2012 and, possibly even more surprisingly, it is the first time that the daughters of Royal Court regulars Lynn Francis and Michael Starke – Jamie and Hayley Hampson – have appeared on any stage, anywhere together.

That’s not to say that the siblings will be unfamiliar to Royal Court audiences though. Hayley appeared in the last Christmas smash, Scouse of the Antarctic, whereas Jamie played in 2012’s monster production of A Nightmare on Lime Street, with both plays eventually featuring both parents.

“Scouse of the Antarctic was my first professional performance since graduating from LIPA and it was such an incredible experience anyway, but to have both mum and dad alongside me really put the icing on the cake,” Hayley recalled. “Last year, when Helen Carter unfortunately fell ill, I think mum had about six hours notice to step up and take over and when I found out, I was really panicking for her. She was just dead laid back, though, which made me so proud and what she managed to do was just incredible. Everybody still talks about the Bear Lero sequence which they were going to alter for her. Mum insisted on keeping it in the way it was, which just goes to so how fabulous an actress she is.”

In this age of social media, news of the sisters winning the chance to perform at The Royal Court together for the first time didn’t take long to get around. “We weren’t together when we found out that we’d got the roles,” Jamie explained, “but thanks to Facebook and Twitter, everybody we know soon found out. We’re both so excited being on stage together here that it is making the whole thing extra special for the pair of us.”

And then there is the family dynamic of being the daughters of such fantastically popular actors. Does that crank up the pressure a little bit? “Not really. When any of us are in anything, we as a family are always so supportive of each other and as far as our performances go, mum and dad just totally step back and encourage us,” Jamie said. “Even if we fell totally on our faces and made complete fools of ourselves, they’d always be there picking out the positives and cheering us on.”

With so many familiar faces around, it isn’t just off stage that the sisters can feel at home. “It’s such a big party atmosphere here, it really is like coming in to work with extended family because we’ve known them all for so long ” Hayley explained. “For us two though, we’re so close anyway we just want to make each other looks as good as possible and we have such a great time night after night.”

“It’s been funny because everybody has been picking up on how we’re both on the same wavelength and how we’ll pick up on the same things or finish each other’s sentences or what have you,” Jamie continued. “Lindsay Inglesby, the show’s choreographer, really picked up on the fact that we’ve just sort of clicked straight away, which has been really nice.”

Mam! I’m ‘Ere! debuted at The Dome Theatre in Renshaw Street in December, 2012, and received some really positive reviews even then. The show has since been tweaked and added to a little bit. “The whole team coming back to it has made this production something of a labour of love, in a lot of ways,” Jamie said. “Stephen has gone right back to the drawing board and tightened it up by developing a few of the characters even more. His direction has been phenomenal. It’s amazing to watch him work as a director, which is something new for the pair of us. We’d obviously seen him act before but working on Mam has really underlined what a brilliant professional he is.”

“Stephen has admitted that this is how he wanted the original version to have been had he had the resources the Royal Court has,” Hayley says. “He’s also been able to step away from it a bit more this time, because as well as writing and directing the original show, he also acted in it so that’s given him a bigger picture and a clearer perspective, which obviously can only improve things.”

Mam! I’m ‘Ere! has everything that is good about theatre at The Royal Court; a fun packed, feel good show that has loads of laughs and some fantastic tunes. “It’s one of those shows where the audience will get totally involved in and just instantly recognise a song that puts themselves back in a particular, upbeat moment in their lives,” Jamie said. “It’s been great watching their reactions to the whole thing, as well, which is making it so much fun to a part of.”

“To be honest,” Hayley added, laughing, “the hardest part so far has been keeping a straight face on stage because all of the others – Andrew, Paul Duckworth and Alan Stocks particularly – just crack us both up all the time, but that sort of just adds to the pleasure of turning up for work every day.”

Mam! I’m ‘Ere! Is At The Liverpool Royal Court Until August 1st. To Book: 0151 709 4321 /