It’s knees up Mrs Brown

Mrs Brown star Bren­dan O’Car­roll tells MAR­ION McMULLEN why his much-loved com­edy char­ac­ter now has plenty to sing about

Llanelli Star - - SPOTLIGHT -

Is Mrs Brown putting on her danc­ing shoes for the new stage show?

(CHUCK­LES) It’s Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Mu­si­cal? And it’s the ques­tion mark in the ti­tle that’s significan­t.

It’s Mrs Brown’s Boys with songs and the whole time she is try­ing to put to­gether a mu­si­cal to pay le­gal fees in a bat­tle against devel­op­ers.

The clos­ing scene of the show is re­ally the open­ing of the mu­si­cal. (Laughs) If any­one com­ing along is ex­pect­ing Les Mis they are go­ing to be dis­ap­pointed.

Is this a new side to Mrs Brown?

MRS BROWN has been in ev­ery medium – ra­dio, stage, books, films and she has had a record – ev­ery­thing ex­cept musicals and now we have Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Mu­si­cal? It’s her time to shine.

It all started on ra­dio and then went on to the stage and I love that in­ter­ac­tion with au­di­ences.

How long does it take to get into char­ac­ter?

I GET ready in 10 min­utes. All I have to do is put on the wig and glasses and I look in the mir­ror and it’s ‘Hello, there she is’ and Agnes is away.

Her walk is key. She walks like she is ex­pect­ing a hip op­er­a­tion any day now. All her dresses and aprons are iden­ti­cal, but her cardies change. If she goes out it’s ‘I’ll wear my good cardie’ and there is also a bed one and every­day ones.

How did your com­edy ca­reer be­gin?

I WAS 25 years of age and had no ambition to do any­thing like this for a liv­ing. I had a part­ner­ship in a pub and my part­ner did a runner and left me in debt.

For the first time I owed more than I had in the bank and I started to do stand-up one or two nights a week.

After nine months, I thought ‘this could be a ca­reer if I do it right and knuckle down’.

How discipline­d are you when it comes to writ­ing?

(LAUGHS) A writer will rather do any­thing ex­cept write. Some­one drops in and you are ‘Come on in, sit down, have a cup of tea’.

I’m some­times up early in the morn­ing to write for a few hours when the house is quiet, but if it’s not com­ing I’ll go out a walk or play a round of golf – any­thing rather than just stare at a blank page.

There is noth­ing so mo­ti­vat­ing for a writer, though, than a dead­line. When I started off do­ing Mrs Brown on ra­dio I would record five episodes ev­ery Mon­day morn­ing to be broad­cast over the week and on Sun­day night I would be sit­ting there go­ing ‘ You can’t go to bed be­fore you write this. You have to write this for to­mor­row’.

In the morn­ing every­one would be say­ing ‘This is great. It’s even bet­ter than the last one’ and I would be ‘re­ally, re­ally?’

What was your own fam­ily like grow­ing up?

I WAS the youngest of 11 chil­dren and my mother would in­tro­duce me say­ing ‘This is the baby Bren­dan’ and I would be ‘Mammy, please, stop. I’m f**king 30 for God’s sake’.

But when the fam­ily are all to­gether I know where I am in the peck­ing or­der. (Laughs) I know my rank­ing in the fam­ily. It’s a very big fam­ily.

We never had to get a bab­y­sis­ter be­cause there was al­ways some­one in the house, within the fam­ily, to help.

I’ve 33 neph­ews and nieces now. The fam­ily just gets big­ger and big­ger.

My mother was a pe­cu­liar char­ac­ter in her own right and when peo­ple asked if Mrs Brown was based on her I would al­ways say ‘no, no ab­so­lutely not’.

But I think Mrs Brown is my mother with­out the ed­u­ca­tion my mother had.

What was it like see­ing Amer­i­can film star An­jel­ica Hus­ton play­ing the in­fa­mous Ir­ish mammy in the 1999 movie Agnes Browne?

(LAUGHS) I had a phone call from some­one who said they were from an Amer­i­can film com­pany and I thought it was a friend of mine mess­ing about and kid­ding with me and I hung up

My man­ager called me back say­ing ‘No, they re­ally do want to talk about buy­ing the film rights.’ An­jel­ica Hus­ton, who was di­rect­ing, had read my book and loved it.

Rosie O’Don­nell was to play Agnes, but she was busy adopt­ing her sec­ond child so An­jel­ica played the role in­stead.

What was it like work­ing on the movie?

IT WAS weird to be work­ing with An­jel­ica. In the book Agnes is a big fan of Cliff Richard and An­jel­ica was like ‘I don’t know if she’d be a fan of Cliff. I’d think she’s be more of a Tom Jones fan’.

And I was like ‘ Yes, maybe.’ She picked up the phone and said ‘Kirsten can you get Tom Jones on the phone?’ and 10 sec­onds later the phone rings and she is say­ing ‘you play your­self and th­ese are the dates’ and she puts the phone down and says ‘Tom is in’.

I just thought ‘Holy f**k. We’re deal­ing with Hol­ly­wood roy­alty’.

The Mrs Brown Christ­mas Day TV spe­cials on the BBC at­tract record au­di­ences. Is there a lot of pres­sure in­volved in writ­ing them?

I’D love to be able to say ‘no’, but you do feel the pres­sure. The sec­ond year I did a gim­mick with a Christ­mas tree and it went well and then from Jan­uary on­wards I was think­ing what will I do with the f**king tree this year. Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Mu­si­cal? tours un­til De­cem­ber. Go to mrs­ for ticket and venue in­for­ma­tion.

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