News Column

Just like a night in front of the TV - with a few thousand friends

July 4, 2013


ALMOST two years ago to the day, a foul-mouthed old Irishwoman took to the stage in Nottingham on what was to be a voyage of discovery for performer and audience alike. Yet it remained to be seen if Mrs Brown's Boys - which came to Nottingham in 2011 in the cosy confines of the Royal Concert Hall and is recorded live on stage for television - could make the leap to an arena setting.

The Mrs Brown show has won a couple of Baftas in the meantime and obviously appeals to the masses too, judging by its continued small screen success. After all, we can all identify with everyday family life - and, most crucially, with the comic creation of Mrs Brown herself.

This was clear from the teeming crowds at the Capital FM Arena on Tuesday night.

Fans simply adore the whole cast. They don't merely watch and laugh... they gasp, wince and worry through with the flimsy plot, a vehicle for laugh after laugh after laugh.

For anyone who doesn't know, Agnes Brown is the result of the comedy genius of Brendan O'Carroll, who dons authentic drag to transform himself into the famous Dublin mammy and performs alongside his screen family, who - in many cases - are members of his actual family.

Confused? You won't be. It's straightforward, obvious comedy, varying from the subversive - nudges, winks and innuendo - to blatant, out-and-out, potty-mouthed bad language.

In this new show we touch upon his flamboyant hairdresser son (obvious enough for you?), the vagaries of plastic surgery for a daughter who can't find love (which part of the body do you suppose?) and then there's granddad's addiction to Viagra. Not forgetting Agnes's own quest to find an online Valentine date.

And yet the audience loved it. Perhaps it is that we are in on the secret with O'Carroll, who confides in the audience in a series of asides while the comedy action is played out on stage. He pulls faces, rolls his eyes and tries to make the rest of the cast forget their lines.

If Agnes was real, she'd be a comedy uncle-turned-aunt who wants to liven up the family gathering.

And O'Carroll must be good as he makes it all look so very easy to do.

So did the big screens each side of the set kill the live show? Not a chance.

Forget the fact that die-hard fans will have heard many of the gags before: it was as though the whole room was watching TV together, enjoying the sharing of a communal moment.

Perhaps reminiscent of the Olympics or the Jubilee. Or perhaps not.

For The Love Of Mrs Brown runs at the Capital FM Arena until Saturday, July 6. Performances at 7.30pm with a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm. Tickets are Pounds 21.50 to Pounds 39.50 from the box office, call 0843 373 3000 or go to

WERE YOU AT THESE SHOWS? Do you agree with our reviewers? Tell us what you think by going online at:

'' He pulls faces, rolls his eyes and tries to make the rest of the cast forget their lines. Patrick Astill

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