Plenty of love for Keogh's hungry farmer
At the opening night of John B Keane's The Love-Hungry Farmer, at the Gaiety Theatre, were (from left) Rory Cowan and his mother, Esther; Oonagh Keogh and Geraldine O'Grady; Rachel MacCann and Gillian Hopper; and Charles Murless and Rhona Blake. photographs: eric luke
THE SOCIAL NETWORK:Morah Ryan was the first to stand up in the dress circle at the end of Des Keogh’s performance in John B Keane’s The Love-Hungry Farmer, at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin on Monday, starting a standing ovation. Keogh had the audience in the palm of his hand for the entire play. His wife, Geraldine O’Grady, and daughter, Oonagh Keogh, both violinists, also watched from the dress circle.
The barrister-turned-actor, from Birr, Co Offaly, and living in Dundrum, is 50 years in the business. “I only know him for 47 of the 50 years,” said O’Grady. “We met on the floor of studio 1 in RTÉ. Des was presenting Melody Fair and I was the soloist, accompanied by the concert orchestra.”
O’Grady had her eye on Keogh for a while, and it was reciprocated that evening. “He came over to me after I’d finished playing and said, ‘I love your dress.’ ” They wasted no time and were engaged within six weeks and married four months later.
Rory Cowan, of Mrs Brown’s Boys, was accompanied by his mother, Esther. A man tapped him on the shoulder and said, “I thought you were meant to be on honeymoon.” Cowan was looking forward to this evening’s Iftas, and was not worried about whether the show won an award: “Sure we won last year.”
Senator Paul Coghlan represented Co Kerry and the Keane connection. He was pleased the former EU commissioner Charlie McCreevy, who was accompanied by his wife, Noeleen, recognised him on his way into the play, “even with my cap on”. Coghlan was chatting to the barrister Colum Walsh, who cycled over from Ranelagh and is in rehearsals with the Leeson Park Players for the comedy Allo Allo, which will take place from April 18th to 20th at Centenary Hall on Leeson Park.
Frank Kelly was recognised by younger members of the audience as Fr Jack Hackett from Father Ted. He has just made a film called An Cait, which was written by Helen Flanagan and is currently in editing.
At the end of the standing ovation, Keogh remembered Maureen Potter and quoted her (with many members of the audience joining in): “If you enjoyed the show tell your friends, and if you haven’t, then save your breath to cool your porridge.”
Keogh is back at the Gaiety with the play for one week from June 17th.
Who we spotted: Rhona Blake and Charlie Murless; Gay Byrne and Kathleen Watkins; Rex Ryan