Mrs Brown’s Boys: exclusive chat with Brendan O'Carroll as Mrs Brown Rides Again comes to Blackpool
and live on Freeview channel 276
Appearing across radio, television and stage, Mrs Brown has become a notorious but well loved character, played by her very own creator, Brendan O'Carroll.
The 68-year-old Irish actor and comedian is going on tour with a live show yet again, this time with a new production of the play ‘Mrs Brown Rides Again’.
Ahead of the show, we chatted with Brendan about all things Blackpool and of course Mrs Brown…
What is the new show?
Mrs Brown Rides Again follows Agnes Brown and her dysfunctional family as romp their way through what seems to be the Mammy’s last days at home.
It was written before the popular TV series, and Brendan says it “is the funniest of the five” stage plays he has written, as well as the Mrs Brown D’Musical.
Describing the show, Brendan said: “If they were leaving the musical having laughed and tapped their feet, they're gonna be absolutely cramped with this. It's definitely the funniest of them.
“There's loads of room in this for Mrs. Brown to go off page, which she does time after time. So I think if you buy a ticket for this show, you're going to leave doubled up with laughter, you're going to be cramped with laughter and it’s going to make sitting in a theater for two hours in the dark worthwhile. Just forget about your blues and your woes, we're not going to try and educate you, to depress you, we're just going to make you laugh.”
Why is he bringing it to Blackpool?
Brendan admits that last year’s performances of Mrs Brown D’ Musical at the Opera House marked Mrs Brown’s first time in Blackpool and it has made him want to return with a show again.
He explained: “We were only able to play three days and it just sold out and there was so many people who didn't get to the show. So we said for the new show we’ll come back… and I can't wait, it's just a beautiful theatre, the Opera House.
“The response from the audience of Blackpool has been absolutely amazing. You kind of wonder why we have never played Blackpool… we’ve played Liverpool for so long, so many times, maybe that's why, maybe Blackpool was too close to Liverpool but no, it's still sold out!”
Comparing it to all the places across the world he has performed in – noting Australia as a frequent tour location – Brendan added: “There was something different about getting to Blackpool for the very first time last year. It was just a completely different vibe.”
In fact, Blackpool will be where the whole tour finishes off this year, and when asked if there was a special reason why, Brendan joked “because it's closer to the boat!”
Has he ever been to Blackpool without Mrs Brown?
Brendan answered: “The last time I was in Blackpool, I was 12 and it was with a football club, we went over to play a mini competition, and I had never seen amusements like it, I'd never seen anything like this place. It was lit up, and the trams going up and down the coast - it was just magical, and I got that feeling all over again.
“It's funny, the song that was…number one in the British charts at that time was a song called ‘Puppet on a string’, and every time I hear the intro...it reminds me of Blackpool rock – I had to bring back rock for everybody.
“I didn't realise also that all those beachfront shops that had those naughty postcards, that I would end up being a live version of the naughty postcards!”
Did Brendan get to relive his youth during his visit last year?
The father of four and grandfather of six said: “I got Blackpool rock and in Blackpool, no matter what chippy you go into, you get the best fish and chips. So we had Blackpool rock, which we brought home for the grandsons and we got our fish and chips there as well. It was just absolutely gorgeous but we didn’t get to the amusements!”
Following a joke about how a visit for ‘Mrs Brown Rides Again’ surely must mean some amusemnents get ridden, Brendan quipped “Mrs Brown rides everything!”
Does Brendan think Mrs Brown is hard to handle then?
He answered: “Oh, god, yeah. Mrs Brown gets away with stuff that I'd never get away with and I think it's because she's you know, mid 70s, old dear, she doesn't care… Those people have a certain amount of freedom, but also a lot of wisdom.
“Agnes is very wise… particularly when it comes to her family. Now she can tell them that they're brats, but she won't have anybody else tell them that they're brats.
“Life for her is about her family, that’s it and she doesn’t think beyond looking after the family and interfering in the family.”
Brendan added: “I get letters from Mumbai in India who tell me that Mrs Brown’s just down the road, everybody seems to know Mrs Brown. She's kind of that wild aunt or grandma that turns up the wedding all dressed to the nines but after three or four vodkas, she stands on the table waving their knickers in the air.”
So would Mrs Brown like Blackpool?
Brendan said: “Are you kidding me? She would love Blackpool!? I'd say right throughout the 70s and 80s, Mrs. Brown went to Blackpool for two weeks every year, that'd be her Benidorm.”
Is Mrs Brown Rides Again the last hoorah?
Brendan said: “I want to do a Tommy Cooper. I want to be dragged off the stage, and have the audience laughing because they think it’s part of the show.”
Indeed future plans have already been confirmed as Mrs. Brown’s Boys is set to return to BBC One for a new four part mini-series later this year, marking the first mini-series since 2013.
Why should the people of Lancashire grab a ticket?
Brendan answered: “If they want to have a laugh! Mrs. Brown doesn't try to educate you, she's not trying to be clever, she's not trying to be anything other than herself.”
He added: “Right now, the way things are going, the way the cost of living has gone, the fallout from Brexit, even the weather, everybody's feeling a little bit miserable right now. For the price of a ticket, we're gonna get you to switch off for two hours, forget about your woes, and just have a good belly laugh. Without any shadow of a doubt, laughter is the best medicine.”