Des Keogh gives a fine performance in this one-man show, adapted from John B Keane’s Letters from a Love Hungry Farmer. As John Bosco McLane, a lonely, whiskey-imbibing bachelor trying to find love, Keogh succeeds in being both hilarious and heart-achingly sad.
Playing myriad roles, he brings the audience on a journey that encompasses everything from a day out at the Dublin spring show to a surreal encounter with a married man whose sexual interest is a rubber woman.
McLane is embittered, and suspicious of cunning ‘townies’ and city slickers who seem to have all the luck with women. But he lives in hope, enlisting the help of a matchmaker in a final stab to procure a woman. What ensues is a number of anecdotes, dramatised by Keogh, which reveal his pathetic failure to seize the moment. Even when he is with a woman in a hotel bedroom, McLane is thwarted by a man he befriended.
That Keogh can have the audience in stitches at one point and totally silent and captivated at others is testament to the sensitivity of his performance.
Keogh plays McLane in a straight fashion, which helps the comedic aspect of the show. The language of the play is quite lyrical and full of amusing similes. It’s occasionally bawdy but mostly sincere. McLane is no sexual predator. He simply wants the companionship and love of a good woman.
To quell his desire, he even considers joining the priesthood. But talking to his clergyman confessor, McLane is gently let down.
The priest, a worldly-wise man, tells McLane that in this vale of tears, sex should not be taken so seriously. But the lonely McLane takes everything to heart.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved