Friday 26 December 2014

Sharon's clipped diction is hard to imitate, says impersonator Brid

Published 03/08/2014 | 02:30

Sharon Ni Bheolain is difficult to impersonate says mimic Brid
Sharon Ni Bheolain is difficult to impersonate says mimic Brid

Mimic Brid O'Connor is still holding on to her day job in the civil service, despite a summer of success in which she has burst into the public eye.

Her uncanny ability to mimic the voices of the stars has been a revelation. She's the perfect sidekick to impressionist and satirist Oliver Callan on his hit show.

From Sharon Ni Bheolain to Jean Byrne, she has dozens of voices.

She was plucked from obscurity after sending a tape to the comedian that showcased some of her favourites.

No female RTE star is safe but newscaster Sharon Ni Bheolain with her clipped diction and cool elegance presented challenges.

"Sharon can be a rigid character to play, I enjoy playing weather girl Evelyn Cusack more, because she's a bit more colourful," said Brid.

"With Sharon I had to focus in on the way she pauses within sentences as well as her delivery and tone. There is also a subtle croakiness to her voice at times, I had to play around a bit before finding that voice within my own voice box," Brid told the Sunday Independent.

"I pick up the little characteristics of voices and then try to emulate them and find ways to use them even more within a sketch.

"So for example, Sharon sort of breaks up words into syllable components, so I work with that.

"There's also other things I can work with like Sharon's swallow and facial mannerisms."

Speaking about her take on RTE's weather girl, she said: "Evelyn always ends her forecast with a bright smile so even if the weather is terrible, we always have that. I think she is a great character in her own right too and I try and bring that across."

Though Brid has never met her subjects, she says they should all take it in jest: "They shouldn't take anything from it. Imitation is the best form of flattery. Sharon is very beautiful. If I look half as good at her age I'll be doing well."

Callan's Kicks is getting 400,000 viewers a week, more than Prime Time, Fair City, Eastenders and Saturday with Miriam.

Sunday Independent

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