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How Now Mrs Brown Cow/Liverpool Empire

Ian Moore enjoys a boisterous romp – and a sausage

Published on November 29th 2010.

How Now Mrs Brown Cow/Liverpool Empire

HOW Now Mrs Brown Cow isn’t cutting edge high-brow theatre but what you get for your money is a romp full of some sharp wit and spontaneity.

Writing a raucous crowd-pleaser can be as demanding as writing any kind of theatre and, as highbrow doesn’t draw large numbers, perhaps Brendan O’Carroll is a man ahead of his time.

Populist theatre brings bums on seats and he’s onto another winner.

The latest instalment is as coarse, sentimental and paper-thin in parts as its predecessors however, it is also has some nice comedic moments.

The piece is essentially a one-man show disguised as a play. O’Carroll mugs and improvises to boisterous effect managing to convincingly portray the titular Mrs Brown with an effortless flair.

The story is one of an elderly, bossy matriarch of a boisterous Dublin family who awaits the return of her son, a priest in Boston, USA. Preparing for his return for the Christmas festivities, she is unaware of developments which make it increasingly unlikely he’ll make it and none of her family want to tell her the bad news.

An all-round team effort from a cast of 11, it is Dermot O’Neil as Granddad that is the stand-out support, delivering a great but rather under utilised performance.

However, O’Carroll, who also directs, is in his element playing the lovable but rather foul mouthed 60-something widow, creating just as much mayhem and madness as those around him with consummate ease

How Now Mrs Brown Cow, is not for the easily offended. With a drop of adult humour, it offers a rather touching insight into a close knit family that just can’t cope without one another. There are nice touches, particularly the attempts at putting the star atop the Christmas tree and the Virgin Mary on a donkey scene but, to its detriment, their is an overuse of on-stage corpsing, rehearsed or otherwise.

One additional highlight to the evening, and a pleasant surprise, was the opportunity to dine at the all new Empire Theatre cafe bar. Situated next to the Box Office, the cafe serves a range of sandwiches, paninis and hot meals, with a full evening menu from 5.00pm.

Friendly staff (thanks Sue), and a relaxing ambience offer a perfect place to relax and grab a bite to eat pre-show with tasty fare – I recommend the black pepper sausage and mash.

On the whole, an entertaining evening which some theatrical highbrows might be sniffy about but just the tonic to take you away from the depression of the country's financial meltdown.

Performance: 6 / 10
Cafe Bar: 7 / 10

*How Now Mrs Brown Cow runs until Saturday 27 November.

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Peter Coyle

i wish i had been there…it sounds like something joyous and anarchic...the way the article is…

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Couldn't agree more. This is a super piece. Ken would be proud that not a penny of public money was…

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Reader Xxx

The review was indeed brilliant - congratulations Angie. The show must have been very special -…

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Claudia Boulton

Thanks Angie for your brilliant piece, so glad you wrote it! Now i know what was going on! Being in…

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