The North East had grown to love Mrs Brown in the ten years Brendan O’Carroll has been bringing his Irish Mammy to the region and his shows were selling out, by word of mouth long, before his hit BBC TV series was even heard of. So after building a loyal fan base at theatres in the region, it is only fitting that he opens his arena tour in Newcastle.
Surprisingly, moving the play from the intimacy of a theatre to a vast arena (even if it is styled as an intimate theatre) actually works. The familiar set of Mrs. Brown’s lounge and kitchen remain, with a massive screen situated on either side of the stage. This means you can watch the action on stage or glance at the screen for an instant close up.
O’Carroll, and what is for all intense and purposes, his repertory Company, certainly grow in to the larger space and the comedy just never lets up. His apparent ad-libs come thick and fast, often leaving the cast helpless with laughter much to the delight of the audience.
Good Mourning Mrs Brown is the second of the Mrs Brown Trilogy as there are actually five in the series. This time the story revolves around Granddad wanting to know what people will say about him at his funeral. So a plan is hatched to allow him to pretend to die, meaning he can listen to all the nice things people will say about him. In to the mix we have priest who has lost faith, a robbery, marriage guidance, total mayhem and side splitting comedy.
Regardless of being familiar with the story by the TV version or having seen the play before, O’Carroll brings a new dimension to the character for this arena tour and again proves himself as one of today’s leading comics.
There is no doubt that is theatrical comedy at its best and leaves the audience wiping away tears of laughter. The audience gave the cast a well deserved standing ovation at the curtain call and in return we were promised Mrs. Brown will return next year, I just cannot wait.