Karen Dunbar

Karen Dunbar

Originally from Ayr, Karen Dunbar was a DJ and karaoke host for ten years on the Glasgow and Edinburgh gay scene before moving into comedy.

Her break came when she attended open auditions for BBC Scotland's comedy unit in 1997, and was immediately signd up Radio Scotland’s comedy programme Chewin' The Fat.

The show, which also starred Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphil transferred to TV in 1999, and ran for three sereies. It led to Dunbar's self-titled BBC One Scotland show, which has run for four series and been nominated for two Rose D'Or international TV awards.

In, 2007 Dunbar made her first appearance in pantomime, playing Nanny Begood in Sleeping Beauty at the King's Theatre in Glasgow.

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'Mary Berry meets Ena Sharples'

Karen Dunbar on her take on Lady Bracknell

Here’s the first look at Scottish comedy star Karen Dunbar as Oscar Wilde’s comedy icon, Lady Bracknell.

The comedian, known for Chewin’ the Fat, Rab C. Nesbitt and her own show, is just about  to start rehearsals for Perth Theatre’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest.

She said: ‘A Scottish Lady Bracknell feels like a head start in terms of comedy but also in the playing of the class system. The political upheavals and class schisms in the play can give real insight into what is wrong but also how to move forward. 

‘Because it’s done with Wilde’s brilliant humour and depth it makes it not only hugely entertaining but also thought-provoking and a good talking point.  

‘There’ll always be a bit of my TV characters in anything I do because those characters are all different parts of me but Lady Bracknell is such a unique persona I think she’ll stand out from the old crowd. 

‘Of course, Lady B is a big snob but I think she’s quite warm at heart and also has some deep insecurity. This vulnerability along with her wit gives a wee crack into liking her and maybe even identifying with her. So far, I’m pitching my Lady Bracknell somewhere between Mary Berry and Ena Sharples. We’ll see what comes oot!’

 The Importance of Being Earnest is directed by Lu Kemp and runs in Perth Theatre from Thursday March 5 until Saturday  March 21.  Grant O’Rourke will play Algernon, Amy Kennedy plays Cecily, Caroline Deyga is Gwendolin and Daniel Cahill plays Jack.  

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Published: 6 Feb 2020

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