The Matchmaker

The Matchmaker is a light-hearted show about Dicky Mick Dicky O’Connor, a self-made cupid for rural Ireland’s slightly-more-than-middle-aged singletons. Dicky is charged with finding companionship for a ragbag of Ireland’s oddest creatures, from Rodger Speck, a five foot nothing, seven-stone jockey, to Fionnuala Crust, a feisty spinster looking for some action, to Claude Glen Hunter (Honourable), who declares himself ‘well-endowed in every way’ and on the hunt for a nimble young man or woman (he’s not fussed which).

It’s a shame that the play doesn’t try to dig a bit deeper and explore the human need for love and companionship

This is a two-man show starring Jon Kenny and Anne Charleston, who take on the roles of Dicky’s weird and wonderful clients. The stories of successful and disastrous matches are played out via letters and the actors spend most of the ninety-minute show sat at their respective writing desks. Both are good in their many personas, but Jon has the wider range, switching seamlessly between haughty Englishmen and squeaky farmers.

The sexual desires (and lack of sexual satisfaction) of Dicky’s clients provide most of the laughs in the show. Dicky is not afraid to get to the point and “discuss de dick” when needs be. Although the many tales of sexual dysfunction and trickery are amusing (there are lots of references to “lack of apparatus” and impotence), this is lazy humour and gets a bit tired after a while.

It’s a shame that the play doesn’t try to dig a bit deeper and explore the human need for love and companionship that the ‘matchmaking’ service is premised on. Dicky’s clients are almost universally comical; there’s little sadness in their loneliness, which is a shame as it means that it’s difficult to invest in any of the characters. Dicky, obviously the centrepiece of the show, is an exception to this and there are some rare and welcome moments of real sadness as his own marriage starts to die.

The Matchmaker is billed as a “hilarious comedy”, which it isn’t really. It’s consistent in being fairly amusing and its longer length gives time for the stories of the various characters to play out. It’s perhaps more suitable for an older audience and would be a good bet if you’re looking for a change from one-hour stand-up sets.

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Performances

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The Blurb

Anne Charleston and Jon Kenny star in John B Keane's hilarious comedy which follows the efforts of Dicky Mick Dicky O'Connor to make matches for the lonely and lovelorn from all parts of the rural Ireland. At the centre of this celebrated production is John B Keane's marvellous and mischievous wit coupled by his unparalleled way with words. John B. Keane takes us back to a simpler time, when even phones were few and far between and the only web was one left behind by spiders.