Cabaret (1972) and Mrs Brown's Boys.

Cabaret (1972) and Mrs Brown’s Boys.
Cabaret (1972) was made a life time ago. But if it was made today I think it would still pick up all the Oscars and rightly so. Liza Minelli is not the prettiest of woman, but she shimmers and shakes and sings and dances as if the world believes it to be so. Liza Minelli is Sally Bowles and Sally Bowles is Liza Minelli. The rouged puppet like MC in the Kit Kat pulls the strings and the soundtrack lets the audience know what is happening in Berlin’s Weimar Germany before Hitler. Michael York as the erudite English gentleman abroad, a nascent Christopher Isherwood discovering his sexuality, is too good to be true. BBC 2 showed this the same week of their production of Christopher and his friends. One is caviar and bubbly champagne ‘darlings’; the other, cabbage water.

Mrs Brown’s Boys.
There was a debate in The Observer about whether this was funny. A second series has been recommissioned by the BBC. The manager of The Pavillion in Glasgow said YES it was. His shows were sellouts. It was no great surprise that somebody else said NO. That’s the nature of debate. No grey areas, such as bits of it were funny, which is usually the case when watching some comedies. I must admit a bit of envy having made the cut, the last 10% of BBC’s Laughing Stock competition, but not expecting to progress any further, with cries of it’s a crap prize anyway. Some people like Tommy Cooper are naturally funny. I just look at him and I’m off. I think there is an element of expectation. If you are going to the theatre expecting to be entertained, because everybody has told you how funny it is, then you’ll laugh at an old pair of grey socks. Laurel and Hardy are the comic geniuses and the exception to the rule that you need to do something differently on TV or in film to get laughs. A man dressed up as a woman, it could be Cabaret, but it’s set in Ireland so it could be Father Ted without priests, which wouldn’t, of course, be Father Ted. Mrs Brown’s Boys had some very clever lines, the requisite every two minutes. I sat stone-faced. Just don’t get me started on Gary Tank Commander.