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Review; BRENDAN O'CARROLL Royal Court.

Byline: Joe Riley

WILL the real Brendan O'Carroll please stand up.

Well, he does just that - after the interval - having served up his alter-egos of Charlie Smart, a 92- year-old bar room philosopher, and Agnes Brown, mother of seven, and subject of as many plays and movies.

It's the Blarney equivalent of Antipodean wonder Barry Humphries, comfortable in and out of a frock, and equally capable of turning one character against another.

Agnes Brown was always a stand-up comic anyway: a matriarch surrounded by a carousel of family extras to punctuate her tirades.

But whereas Humphries's Dame Edna remains demure (barring innuendo), Agnes is unimpeded by expletives, while Charlie (largely new to local audiences) appears to upstage Sir Les Patterson, proudly proclaiming a 22- inch trouser zip..

This, it turns out, is nothing more than the penchant of old men for hitching their waistbands up to their nipples and addressing the world like a shrunken glove puppet peering over a line of still stained second-hand washing.

Charlie smokes, drinks and suffers from piles. His penchant is for narrative, conjuring up incredible images of his long-distant wedding night with a 19-stone bride.

Agnes Brown ups the revs with recollections of how she courted and sexually satisfied her late husband (again, shades of Dame Edna's years of routine affection with Norm).

All this hilarious patter is bound together with wake-like joy by a musical trio from the extended O'Carroll touring family, until, at last, the wee man himself steps into the spotlight wearing a doll-like golfing outfit and starts hitting comedic holes in one.

He is, by any means, an extraordinary chap - so successful on radio in Ireland that they had to move the lunchbreak in Mountjoy Prison, so that the inmates could tune in.

Also, little-known, is that Brendan once truly contemplated starting his own airline.

Perhaps that's why the tour de force concludes with a commentary on the intrigues and dangers of buying an airline ticket.

Not recommended for anyone contemplating a fear of flying course.

But just the ticket for everyone else.

And the obvious need to issue a return invitation.

9/10 Wicked
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 16, 2009
Words:355
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