Saturday, April 23, 2016

Review: "The Matchmaker" by John B. Keane #253

It's been many years since I was in the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin - I can't remember what I last saw there. When I heard an ad on the radio for John B Keane's "The Matchmaker" Roma and I decided on a night out at the theatre.

Image source: Gaiety Theatre.
I had no idea that this play about marriage and sex was so funny. The play is about the efforts of Kerryman Dicky Mick Dicky O'Connor as he corresponds with a variety of lonely rural males and females eager to find a mate in County Kerry during the 1950s. It was first performed in 1975 with a cast of two starring Ray McNally and Ronnie Masterson. This 2016 version features Jon Kenny and Mary McEvoy - neither of whom I had seen on stage before. Kenny and McEvoy moved effortlessly between the many characters who wrote and received letters from Dicky Mick Dicky. Kenny made fun of a lighting mistake, while MacEvoy soldiered on when unbelievably a phone went off in the audience which was then answered loudly by a gobshite who kept talking as he left the auditorium - we could still hear him out in the hall. Turned every head in the theatre away from the stage.

Both actors got a deserved standing ovation at the end of the play - they were on stage for almost all of the time and kept us entertained throughout. While the play has a serious aspect to it in dealing with loneliness in rural Ireland, it is in the main a funny look back at the 1950s and how some in our parents generation met. Recommended.

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