We caught up with Brendan O’Carroll, creator, writer and star of Mrs Brown’s Boys before he and the family head to our shores this March.
How did you come up with the character of Mrs Brown and had you ever thought of doing drag before this?
No, and I was actually quite conscious at the time of trying not to do drag. I didn’t want the audience to perceive Mrs Brown as a man in a dress, I wanted them to look at Mrs Brown and go ‘oh, it’s an old dear’. I don’t think of her as being a man. The way I came up with it was completely by accident, I had an actress booked to play Mrs Brown on the radio series and she didn’t turn up so I said I’ll do her lines and when she’s ready we’ll get her in and cut them in. When I did her lines I did Mrs Browns voice and when I got to the end the editor said to me ‘who’s the actress playing Mrs Brown?’ and I said ‘You’re kidding me? That’s me!’ and he said you’ve got to keep that voice, so that’s how it started.
How do your grandkids understand things, with their family all playing other characters in Mrs Browns Boys?
The eldest is eleven and the youngest is two. [The youngest ones] actually differentiate, there’s granddad and then there’s Mrs Brown and they equally like both of them, it hasn’t struck them yet that you never see the two of them in the same room. They love Mrs Brown because you know, she’s nice, big and cuddly, she’s got those big breasts that they can snuggle into and they obviously love their granddad because he’s their granddad and spoils them rotten. They think everyone’s granny and granddad is on TV, if the kid at school says their dad’s a fireman, they immediately think, well he’s obviously the fireman off the TV because everybody’s parents are on TV.
What can you tell us about the live show, we hear it’s about Valentines Day?
Everybody’s paired up for Valentines Day, they’ve all got dates except Agnes and she thinks you know, maybe it’s time she got in on the action and got a bit of love. As she says herself, her knees have been together longer than the Rolling Stones so she needs to spread the love so to speak. She ventures into internet dating with disastrous results. There’s also a piece in it where she discovers hard drugs completely by accident she discovers hard drugs and she goes off the deep end. I always was saying, I wonder what Agnes would be like on drugs so now I know!
Russia wanted to licence the show but to cut the gay character, Rory. Why was it important to you that Rory was kept in the show?
Agnes having a gay son and not completely understanding the gay son, she kind of understands what gay means but she doesn’t really understand the technical bit of it nor does she want to know. But the fact that he’s gay is an integral part of the story so when they wanted to do it with no gay character I said, well that would be the same as doing it without Winnie. It is what it is, it’s take it or leave it. So, at the time I said no…. we don’t hide anybody in this show, whether they’re gay or whatever.