Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Mrs Brown's Boys tour is crass, crude and corny... but you just can't stop yourself laughing helplessly

Review: For the Love of Mrs Brown at Odyssey Arena, Belfast

Brendan O'Carroll in Mrs Brown's Boys

The Mrs Brown's Boys live tour arrived at the Odyssey Arena last night for the first of five sold-out dates.

Critics like to sniff that the show isn't funny, but the 40,000 Belfast fans who bought tickets seem to disagree.

And accusations of the Irish sitcom being parochial don't hold water, as it's also filling arenas across the UK.

You can't say it's a flash in the pan, either – this is the third consecutive year Brendan O'Carroll and co have taken the smash-hit BBC series on the road.

It seems O'Carroll – alias the titular (and in this show, such a pun would be very much intended) matriarch – has tapped into a fan base underserved by both the more cerebral comics and the young, hairy blokes named Russell.

And if he's milking it for all he can get, you can hardly blame him after years of struggle and rejection. Last night's mixed crowd – literally everyone from children to OAPs – was up for a laugh from the minute the curtain parted to reveal the familiar set from the television show.

For the Love Of Mrs Brown covers such vintage comedy fare as a gay couple bickering, an old codger's Viagra addiction and a botched boob job.

In fact, the only things grounding it in the 21st century were perhaps a superhero costume subplot and the relentless smut and swearing.

For the Love Of Mrs Brown isn't so much in-your-face as down-your-gob-and-out-the-other-end.

O' Carroll and his trusty ensemble of friends and family never miss an opportunity for a crude double entendre, or indeed the occasional single one.

The gags aren't especially sharp or memorable, but if you can't chuckle at some of this stuff, you've clearly never enjoyed an episode of The Two Ronnies.

"Rory's coming up the path," announced a supporting character at one point.

You can pretty much write the punchline yourself, but that doesn't make it any less amusing.

The plot – about Mrs Brown's search for a date – was almost defiantly flimsy, but no one had come for character arcs or a dramatic denouement.

People wanted to see cast members fluff their lines and collapse into fits of giggles, and to hear O'Carroll make crude asides – and that's exactly what they got.

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Peace and quiet will help you recover from a busy social life. Although you love attending parties, these engagements can take a toll on your health. Set aside a few hours in your busy schedule for solitary pursuits. Taking a nap, reading for pleasure or luxuriating in a hot bath is strongly advised. You've lost touch with your spiritual side. Take this opportunity to reconnect with it. You'll be surprised to learn how much you enjoy your own company.More