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Interview: Brendan O'Carroll, comedian

HER daughter is his wife. His daughter, her daughter-in-law. Oh, and his other daughter-in-law is her daughter-in-law too. Confused? There's more.

Her son's best friend is his son, and her next door neighbour is his sister. Welcome to the interwoven worlds of Irish comedian Brendan O'Carroll and his most famous creation, Mrs Agnes Brown, Dublin's hilarious, foul-mouthed mammy.

"Right, we'll talk about the character Mrs Brown first and then the relationship with Brendan O'Carroll," laughs the man himself, before trying to explain the convoluted family tree.

"Kathy, Mrs Brown's daughter, is Brendan O'Carroll's wife. Maria Brown, Mrs Brown's daughter-in-law, is Brendan O'Carroll's daughter Fiona. Betty Brown, Mrs Brown's other daughter-in-law is also Brendan O'Caroll's daughter-in-law. Buster, Mrs Brown's son's best friend is Brendan O'Carroll's son. Our producer Marty, who also plays Trevor, is my son-in-law.

"Now, as well as that, Fiona is married to Marty. Amanda, who plays Betty, is married Danny who plays Buster. And Winne, Mrs Brown's next door neighbour is my sister."

Which just leaves granddad. "Granddad is not related to me but he may as well be. I gave him a biscuit about 25 years ago and he's been following me around ever since," O'Carroll quips.

For those yet to see the ubiquitous Mrs Brown in action, her hilarious and touching dysfunctional family manage to totter from one near disaster to the next, always just managing to come out on top.

Her visit next week will prove a taster of things to come for those yet to make her acquaintance, as O'Carroll and his merry band of players have just finished recording Mrs Brown's Boys, a six part BBC sitcom, due to screen from the first week of the New Year.

Unlike most comedy series, it lacks a fourth wall allowing Mrs Brown to speak directly to viewers mid-scene, much as she does during the five plays that make up the Mrs Brown Trilogy. "That was the only condition set for do the series - that it was true to what we do on the stage," explains the 55-year-old who was born in Finglas, in inner city Dublin.

"There was no point in me doing it and having people then coming to see the live show for the first time and going, 'Holy cow, what's this?'"

And talking of our bovine friends, O'Carroll's fifth visit to Edinburgh gives city audiences their first chance to see How Now Mrs Brown Cow?

"Because of a phone call from a solicitor, the suspicion among the family has grown that one of them is adopted. So they spend the play trying to figure out which one it is," says O'Carroll.

"Parallel to that, Mrs Brown's son, who has been away at the missions in Africa for four years, is coming home for Christmas.

"However, the family have found out that he is not going to get home at all and none of them want to be the one to tell her."Of course, it's Mrs Brown, so everything works out just the way it is supposed to."

How Now Mrs Brown Cow?, Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, Tuesday-Saturday, 7.30pm, 16-25, 0844- 847 1661

 
 
 

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