Mrs Brown's Boys D'Musical? review – where are d'jokes and d'good songs?

The Hydro, Glasgow
Brendan O’Carroll and co cheerfully gurn their way through two hours’ of weak gags, unmemorable songs and wasted opportunities

Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Musical? begins where Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie left off, and, after two hours of weak gags and weaker songs, Mrs Brown’s Boys d’audience – or this member at least – is certain it ought to have spent longer in d’rehearsal room.

As in the film, Dublin’s stout-hearted stallholders have won their court case against developers who wished to close Moore Street market. But where to find the €75,000 legal costs? Mrs Brown (Brendan O’Carroll), matriarch of the fruit stall, has a plum idea: put on a musical and watch the dosh roll in.

The question mark of the title indicates a certain hesitancy over genre. There are only eight songs and they are, without exception, unmemorable. This is a mercy. The memory deserves better. As for O’Carroll’s script, well, if you took out all the effing and jeffing it would be a good deal shorter. The city of Billy Connolly needs no lessons in how swearing can add rhythm and oomph to a joke, but the trouble here is that too often the swearing is the joke.

Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Musical at the Hydro, Glasgow.
Much filth … Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Musical? at the Hydro, Glasgow. Photograph: Graeme Hunter Pictures

What niggles is the wasted opportunity. Mrs Brown’s Boys has long had an appreciative audience in Glasgow, going back to 2006 when it was spotted at the Pavilion theatre by a BBC producer who had a hunch it would make a sitcom. There is, therefore, a huge amount of goodwill in the room, much of it squandered. And the room itself – an arena – is too large. Unless you are sitting in the first 20 or so rows, you will likely find yourself watching the big screens rather than the stage.

One positive: O’Carroll, as Mrs Brown, all cuppas and cardies and Les Dawson-ish gurn, is a pleasure to watch. More Teabag than Fleabag, his breaking of the fourth wall is always fun. He seems to forget his lines a few times, and even has to wander off set for a prompt, yet such lapses are in keeping with the franchise’s wonky, blooper-reel charm.

Some pathos, much filth, these seem to be the ingredients for commercial success. Creatively, though? D’Musical is a dud. No question.

• At Newcastle Arena, 5-7 April. Then touring until 15 December.


Peter Ross

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Mrs Brown's Boys live? They'll need more than malaprops and mincing to thrill an entire arena
Good Mourning Mrs Brown, the cross-dressing hit’s live show, is so full of horseplay, guffaws and in-jokes, I started to feel like a gooseberry

Brian Logan

06, Jul, 2017 @2:58 PM

Article image
Mrs Brown's Boys creator once arrested on suspicion of murder

Biography reveals Brendan O'Carroll was taken into custody after death of former business partner, Kevin Moore

Matt Trueman

16, Sep, 2013 @1:18 PM

Article image
Stephen Fry Live! in Heroes review – myths and Melchett around the fire
Fry’s retelling of Greek myths makes for an engaging evening, but it takes Blackadder and Harry Potter to ignite the audience

Brian Logan

12, Nov, 2018 @11:20 AM

Article image
Critic-proof TV: from Mrs Brown's Boys to The Big Bang Theory
Trashed by reviewers, Mrs Brown’s Boys has still been voted best sitcom of the 21st century by its many fans. We look at six other badly reviewed TV behemoths

Stuart Jeffries

25, Aug, 2016 @7:00 AM

Article image
Mrs Brown's Boys: the chatshow – what a reassuring move by the BBC
The mega success of Dublin’s most offensive widow may gobsmack many, but the BBC knows when it’s on to a good thing – and how to maximise it

Mark Lawson

11, Jan, 2017 @2:52 PM

Article image
Mrs Brown's Boys voted best sitcom of 21st century
BBC1 show has failed to wow critics but takes top spot in Radio Times online poll

Jasper Jackson

23, Aug, 2016 @11:11 AM

Article image
Russian censors wanted to remove gay character from Mrs Brown's Boys
Creator of the hugely popular sitcom says he turned down a ‘nice licensing fee’ that would have meant writing out character of Rory

Holly Watt

20, Dec, 2017 @4:14 PM

Article image
Ardal O'Hanlon review – shrugging off the ghost of Father Dougal
In an endearing but gentle show, the comedian tries to leave his Father Ted alter ego behind

Brian Logan

25, Nov, 2019 @6:00 AM

Article image
Ricky Gervais review – anti-woke tittering over Liam Neeson and Louis CK
Casting himself as a taboo breaker for his Netflix show Supernature, the cacklesome comic delivers a squarely liberal-baiting set

Brian Logan

30, May, 2019 @11:46 AM

Article image
Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie review – 'a flatly indifferent cash-in'

Mike McCahill: Brendan O'Carroll's Mrs Brown's Boys has reached the big screen spin-off, and may well become as successful as The Inbetweeners Movie – but on this evidence, it doesn't deserve to

Mike McCahill

27, Jun, 2014 @4:39 PM