Ceri Dupree talks about Brenda's "Big Night Out"
Swansea-born comic and impersonator Ceri Dupree talks to MARK REES ahead of his returns to Swansea's YMCA.
hey say there's an Othello in every comedian, and maybe one day I'll do something serious," says flamboyant Llansamlet-born comic, singer, actor and impersonator Ceri Dupree.
"But I'd rather make people laugh," he adds, and that's exactly what he'll be doing next week as he returns to spearhead a theatre revival in a former haunt where he originally cut his teeth.
"It's like a trip back in time," says Ceri of the Llewellyn Hall Theatre inside Swansea's YMCA, a venue he last played in 1982, and which celebrates a centenary of community activity in October.
"When you walk into the building it's all new, like walking into a gym. But the theatre is traditional; they've kept the curtains, and the stage."
Ceri will be starring in Brenda's "Big Night Out", a play from his past which was given a public outing at the Dylan Thomas Theatre last year.
"It's a comedy play with music," says Ceri.
"I first did Brenda 18 years ago in London, and people had been saying for a while, 'you should do Brenda again'. So that's what we did last year.
"I was so nervous, but we had a great run. After about eight or nine shows I could relax a bit.
"It's a very Welsh play. Lots of Welsh humour. The Welsh are very good at laughing at themselves. And there's quite a bit of pathos. Some sadness with the humour. There really is something for everyone.
"There are a few big laugh out loud moments in it. Lots of little groany gags as well, but some corkers. I can say that now, as it's been tried and tested.
"There was one woman who laughed throughout an entire show after a James Bond gag. And one man was laughing his head off all night after an Etch a Sketch joke."
And for anyone lucky enough to have caught the show last year, Ceri says that an even better joke has been added this time around.
"It's about the Pope" is all he'll say on the matter, with a smile and a smirk.
Ceri himself plays the title role of Brenda, a hairdresser who dreams of hitting the big time and singing on the Vegas stage.
"But when Brenda gets called away to visit the council, I then play the different characters who visit her hairdressers," he explains.
"There's a South African; an American Evangelist, who claims to have given everything to Jesus; and an Irish lady from the Salvation Army."
Alongside Ceri will be Nikki Dee, Jay Cunningham and Phil Randall as Mam. And fans of his famous impersonations needn't worry – a familiar face will be making a "spectacular" appearance as well.
"Let's just say I turn up as somebody very well known!" he teases.
Although he does point out that his personal favourite impressions don't necessarily match his fans favourites.
"Tina Turner, Shirley Bassey, Cher, Dame Edna and Amy Winehouse are always popular. Lady GaGa, more recently. I did Hilary Devey (Dragon's Den) in Coventry last week an they loved it. And Camilla Parker Bowles always gets people booing!" he laughs.
"But personally, I prefer the classics. Marilyn Monroe, Mae West, Liz Taylor. All the old stars had something about them."