John B. Keane's first play, adapted from his novella 'Letters of a County Matchmaker' took to the An Táin stage on Friday May 6th, to a great house.
The intimate set, consisting of two tables, two chairs, a bench and three fully adorned coat stands, were used to illustrate the writing and passing on of letters from one character to another. The play, consisting of only two cast members, did feature some dramatic moments and monologues, but for the most part, played out like a perfect game of comic tennis.
The audience are introduced firstly to Dicky Mick Dicky O'Connor, the plays main character,
'The Matchmaker' himself. He reads his letters aloud, prior to sending, and signs off in a way that, toward the end of the play, the audience join in in shouting; “Dick Mick Dickyyyyyy O Connor”. John Kenny is fantastic, using great physicality in his character-acting to portray the authors of the letters.
Mary McEvoy is fantastic, as soon as she walked upstage, the audience were able to tell exactly which character she was about to portray by her gestures.
The two actors only interact face to face during the play's beautiful ending, a heart-warming scene, which received a standing ovation.
All-in-all the play showcased just how clever John B. Keane was.
The playwright was known for jotting down ideas and notes for his plays whilst pulling pints in his pub in Listowell, basing characters on members of the locality. A fantastic piece of theatre from start to finish.