Thursday, 16 June 2011
The Brown Blues.
A couple of months ago my former friends, Dan Tetsell and Margaret Cabourn-Smith, bought me one single ticket to see Good Mourning Mrs. Brown, the spin-off live show of the TV series Mrs. Brown's Boys, at the Hammersmith Apollo. 3,499 howling fans of Ireland's very worst contribution to anything, including terrorism, and me alone in one room. In a way, I was really looking forward to it but when I woke up yesterday morning I felt sick. It was going to be a long day.
The plan was this: I would meet Margaret and Dan at their flat beforehand, give them a bottle of champagne, watch them drink it then I would continue the night alone not drinking a single drop while I watched Mrs. Brown live on stage. It was an unmitigated failure. The only thing that went right was the very worst part of it: I watched Mrs. Brown live on stage.
Let's just cut to the show: it wasn't very good. It wasn't very good at all and it knew it. The show started very late, as it had in every terrible review I read about Good Mourning Mrs. Brown yesterday. It had to start late because there is so little in the show that if they started on time people would leave early and then figure out that they've been cheated. That's the one good thing about going to see Mrs. Brown live on stage, you can't be cheated. Every single person in that room including the cast know fully well that the show is such utter garbage that disappointment can never enter into it. Everyone knows what they're letting themselves in for. I know this because Mrs. Brown's audience gave the show the respect it deserved. Mobile phones constantly ringing, people answering their phones and talking loudly, people seemingly just wandering around the theatre for no reason. Yes, even the people who really love Mrs. Brown and would pay £40 to go to see it think it's a pile of crap.
So, the lights go down and the whole room cheers. It get's one of the biggest cheers of the night. Why wouldn't it be? The safety blanket of complete darkness is definitely preferable to the onslaught that followed. Mrs. Brown's voice comes over the PA to ask us to switch off our phones (that was ignored) and to remind us that, through some sexual agreement with Beelzebub, Mrs. Brown's Boys was BAFTA nominated. That's not an achievement. It isn't. All it means is that now all BAFTA awards and nominations are completely meaningless. In fact, they're an insult. Look at eBay right now. BAFTA's are really cheap. I got two for The Office plus Daniel Day-Lewis's 2002 award for Gangs Of New York. Less than a tenner and that includes P&P. Anyway, the recorded message at the beginning went on for ages. It had to because there's so little in the show that if that pre-show message hadn't gone on for ages people would leave early and then figure out that they've been cheated.
The message finally ends and we're off to the theme tune. The theme tune lasted a really, really long time. It had to because there's so little in the show that if the theme tune hadn't gone on for ages...look, all I'm saying is that the show hadn't started and I'd already had enough.
Of course, I look back at that theme tune quite fondly now. It's tedious length was the only thing from stopping me seeing Good Mourning Mrs. Brown. Let me make this very, very clear: there are NO jokes in Good Mourning Mrs. Brown, there are just things that people say. It might as well be "Forgot my umbrella. Honestly, I'd forget my own head if it wasn't attached" followed by a rolling hate-thunder of laughter. In fact, when they actually tried jokes they were just bizarre. Mrs. Brown has a gay son who is the butt of every homophobic jibe known to man. At one point, he walks into the room and Mrs. Brown says "Oh. Here's Eminem".
I mean, everyone laughed loudly and I could clearly tell it was a dig at him being gay but...but...Eminem? Not "Oh. Here's Liberace". No? Not "Oh. Here's Graham Norton". or "Oh. Here's a pink thing". Despite the rapper being constantly tagged as a homophobe himself in the late '90's, they chose Eminem as that gay stereotype it's OK to use as an insult. Mind you, a few seconds in the company of Mrs. Brown's gay son will bring out the hate in everyone. I don't want to to be stereotypical, nasty or showing any hate towards my homosexual brothers and sisters but I want Mrs. Brown's gay son to get AIDS. I realise he's only a fictional character but I want that fictional character to get real AIDS. I hate him. He's the worst thing in the show and outside of the show. He is the worst thing.
But Eminem isn't the worst joke. Oh, no. Not by a mile. I feel like I'm in a dusty cellar looking at fine wines just to choose the perfect one to give you an idea of what I saw. Ah, yes. Here's one: Two of the characters are robbing a house. The stage is completely dark and the thieves' torches are broken. Awful Man One: "Oi tink oi found a Playstation 2". Awful Man Two: "Doze are moy balls".
Just let that swirl around your mouth for a while. Taste every bit of it. Savour the putrid bile. Now spit it out and forget everything.
Basically it was 2 hours and 20 minutes of that. Over and over and over again. It would have been longer but I just couldn't stand it any more. I left before the end. I'm sorry, everyone, I'm just not that strong. Plus I had a beer in the interval. I guess I just wasn't as prepared as I thought I'd be. To be really honest, the first half ended up being pretty traumatic for me. About an hour into the show, not the "play" like it's been advertised, the woman next to me started tapping my leg. She started tapping out a beat on my leg. There was no music playing but somehow a very jaunty little number had aneurysmed it's way into her head and she decided to tap the beat out on MY leg. Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on MY leg. I pulled my leg away and the woman looked at me, shocked. "I'm sorry", she said. "I thought that was my leg".
That is the kind of person Mrs. Brown attracts. People who aren't sure which legs are theirs.
Look, it was never going to be a great night, not for me anyway. I think Dan Tetsell enjoyed himself. While I sat there being upset, he was out in pubs and restaurants having a lovely time. It will always be one of the most brilliant and funny horrible things anyone has done to me. Well done, Dan.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the Irish writer, producer, director, homophobe and racist Brendan O'Carroll who's creation Mrs. Brown entertains thousands of leg-confused people all over the world. I'm so glad he got in touch before the show: http://tinyurl.com/5tlxbtv
Also, while you're on Twitter, start following @TWJokeTrialFund and giver generously to a very worthy cause. Thanks.
Tickets for POINTLESS ANGER, RIGHTEOUS IRE 2: BACK IN THE HABIT at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here: http://tinyurl.com/6fclh2l
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