The lonely and the lovelorn are the prey of matchmaker, Dicky Mick Dicky O’Connor, in John B. Keane’s beloved play, The Matchmaker.
Television favourites Mary McEvoy (Biddie in the long-running Glenroe) and actor and comedian Jon Kenny (of D’Unbelievables fame) come together to play a myriad of characters in this hilarious and earthy dramatic comedy.
Asked what people can expect from the play, which runs at the Town Hall Theatre tonight and tomorrow (16 and 17 March) at 8pm, Jon laughs and says, “Well, what people expect and what they get could be two different things!”
The play is mostly relayed through letters from clients of Dicky and his hopeful replies to them promising them a good match, but often failing.
Jon plays a concoction of characters and says it suits him down to the ground. “I love the idea of jumping in and out of characters, I find that easier than being myself!” he says with a laugh. “It’s an element of the play I enjoy very much,” he adds.
Despite being written in the 1960s, Keane’s comedy is very much focused on sex, something Jon says people might be “quite taken aback by”.
“I think the emotions and the passions were just as lively back then, you know people weren’t as shy as we presume and I think Keane and his writing gets to the core of that very easy.
“People were people, they were human beings, they longed for the same things people long for now like friendship, comfort and sexual relationships.”
The Matchmaker transports the audience back in time to a simpler era where phones were few and far between and the only web was one left behind by spiders.
However Jon’s partner in crime in The Matchmaker, Mary McEvoy, says she believes there is very little difference between now and then when it comes to relationships.
“There wasn’t social media but people’s actual needs were exactly the same as they are today. We didn’t have Tinder or any of those kind of things but I don’t really think people change all that much from age-to-age. People still want to fall in love, and they still want to be fulfilled, it’s the same in every generation.”
And like Jon, she says people might be surprised at how “broadminded” and “unfazed” society is portrayed in The Matchmaker.
The centre of this celebrated production is Keane’s marvellous and mischievous wit coupled by his unparalleled way with words and Mary says the writer has the ability to make the audience think too.
“It is a very funny and very earthy comedy but the beauty of John B. Keane’s writing is that, side by side with all the fun there will be something very tragic or something that will make you think, and that’s John B. Keane’s talent, he can pull the two things together perfectly.”
Both Jon and Mary say they “love Galway” and are looking forward to returning to the Town Hall Theatre for two nights.
“I might even, if I have the time, try my first swim of the year. The Atlantic might be a bit warmer than the lakes we have in Westmeath so I might try it!” laughs Mary.