Andy Howells chats to Brian Conley about his new show The Real Life of Brian

“It’s a potpourri of entertainment” says Brian Conley of his new live show The Real Life Of Brian, “ its as much fun as you can have with your clothes on, a celebration of my illustrious career!”

The versatile entertainer, who will shortly be starring in Cameron Macintosh’s stage version of Barnum, recently took time out to chat to me about his celebratory show commemorating 40 years in variety which comes to Cardiff’s St David’s Hall next week.

The Real Life of Brian will feature music from Brian’s stage successes Jolson, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Hairspray as well as comedy sketches including his famous children’s TV presenter parody Nick Frisbee with puppet Larry the Loafer. The show promises to be a night to remember.

The show will be all Brian, except he says for a spot when his support act Matt Ricardo will take the limelight. “The only thing I can’t do is juggle and Matt’s a great juggler and he does about 12 minutes as well as a couple of spots with me.”

Brian continues: “We close the first half with songs from shows that I’ve done over the years such as Jolson (of which Brian received critical acclaim), Me and My Girl, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Hairspray and Oliver! I’m indirectly saving the audience about £400!”

I ask Brian if he always wanted to be an entertainer, “I wasn’t any good at anything else that’s the bottom line,” he says, “I later found out I was dyslexic. Keeping up with everyone in the class was quite a challenge so all I could do was make them laugh, I didn't realise it but I was learning my trade from an early age.”

“My father was a great singer so I mimicked him. I’ve always had a strong singing voice, I always say I was born to sing and the comedy came later, although not too much later! When I was 18 or 19 I joined a comedy band in Wales called Tomfoolery. I lived in Ebbw Vale and Tredegar and did about three years with them.”

Brian debuted in musical theatre with the lead role in Me and My Girl, and was surprised one night when the legendary Bob Hope turned up to see the show. “When he came to see me in Me and my Girl he was five rows from the front with his wife and his son and he bought those five rows out so he could have a clear view of the stage. I thought that’s someone with lots of money!” Hope visited Brian at the end of the show: “He was very complimentary and he said “let me tell you my boy you’ve got it all!” That was wonderful compliment.” Bob Hope followed the compliment through with a request for Brian to join him as special guest on his final world tour, an invitation Brian duly accepted and still retains a souvenir poster at home as a cherished memento.

The Real Life of Brian will not only celebrate Brian’s musical successes but also his love of family orientated comedy, an art he developed by watching his own idols Tommy Cooper, Eric Morecambe and Peter Sellers.

“It’s a commitment to take the audience somewhere and that they all go out saying “that was a great variety night!” I think variety is the spice of life. The word variety is dated but what it means is moving from one thing to the next and keeping people on their toes and thinking “My God what is he going to do next?” and that’s what really keeps an audience there. There’s a sense of achievement when they are stood there cheering and you think that was all down to you Brian!”

Catch Brian Conley at St David’s Hall, Cardiff on Saturday May 10. Visit for ticket details.