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Chris High reviews: The Liverpool Empire performance of Mrs Brown Rides Again 2007

MRS BROWN RIDES AGAIN


Brendan O’Carroll, Jennifer Gibney, Fiona O’Carroll, Eilish McHugh, Mike Calveley, Dermot O’Neill, Gary Hollywood, Danny O’Carroll, Paddy Houlihan, Rory Cowan
Producer: Martin Delaney


Liverpool Empire Theatre
Tuesday January 16th, 2007

Abba Mania:  promotional image

MRS BROWN RIDES AGAIN


Mrs. Brown Act III is what, for those who have seen parts I and II, you might expect. That is to say brash, foul-mouthed, bawdy and utterly, utterly hilarious. In fact Mrs Brown is everything good, homespun, low budget comedy theatre should be – complete with the mistakes, the farce, the drying on stage and split sets that were outmoded in the early seventies.

That most of the mistakes derive from Brendan O’Carroll – the show’s star, writer, director and, well, mastermind – is nothing short of genius as it’s little wonder his colleagues can’t keep straight faces with this guy / gal around, as he improves and ad-libs his way through a script that otherwise would be turgid in the extreme.

The story – such as it is – is based upon the redoubtable lady overhearing a conversation that she believes, mistakenly, is a plot to have her put into an old people’s home.
Oh yeah, and there’s something about a Raffle Ticket scam too.

Not that it matters, because what this is in terrific reality is an extension – and a somewhat unique and highly successful extension at that – of O’Carroll’s stand-up routine, made to fit a theatre format.

Chubby Brown meets Widow Twanky? You’ve got the picture … almost.

As a result, without O’Carroll on stage, everything somehow falls flat, which in hindsight is probably just as well for fear of the audience cracking too many ribs with laughter.
Willy Russell this certainly isn’t, but a heart-warming tonic that dispels the January blues it most certainly is, and may the old hag reign for many more years to come.
8/10

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