by Rose Rushe
DES Keogh knows how to hold a room together, not least when he’s writing the songs. Now tipping 80, Keogh’s new show ‘My Fair Ladies’ is inspired by George Bernard Show’s love life.
As actor/ writer he looks the part in three-piece check and bushy beard, Keogh’s height and lope bringing us GBS in credible, benevolent flesh. That the crusty Victorian vegetarian had such a galloping time with his trousers off is eyepop.
Keogh mines the playwright’s correspondence and works for evidences of many a rewarding love affair, consummated or not, and shrewd observation of the fairer sex.
Being Des Keogh, he gives it welly. This is a mischievous, merciless exposition of the late-coming virgin who was pulled regularly by society women and then as husband, evolved into serial adulterer joyfully.
Keogh, directed sparingly by producer Pat Talbot, gives us a run-through of a life chaste, chased, then avidly chasing the top actresses of the day – Ellen Terry, Mrs Patrick Campbell, Molly someone who was married to an older, wealthy man. Isadora Duncan offered to be his private dancer but this riot he declined.
His celibate marriage to Irish heiress Charlotte Payne-Townshend poodled on with affection and much travel. He earned a pittance as music critic while Charlotte, whom he adored, was loaded and indulgent. Ladles of wit, genius and critical/ public success must have sweetened her palate for polyamory but they stuck it out quite handsomely. Keogh does well in spinning charisma.
‘My Fair Ladies’ returns to Limerick again on Wednesday June 3, 8pm for Lime Tree Theatre, MIC, www.limetreetheatre.ie
Set design by Jim Queally, lighting/ stage by Moyra D’Arcy. From Patrick Talbot Productions.
Lime Tree Theatre, June 3 at 8pm