[20060018] The Love-Hungry Farmer

The Love-Hungry Farmer

Des Keogh @ Little Theatre

5:00pm, Mon 27 Feb 2006

Score: 7

Initial impressions weren’t good; Des Keogh, in the title role as the 56-year-old virginal farmer who’d never found love, seemed to be merely reading through his script… no depth of emotion was on display. However, as the performance went on, the subtle nuances of this production came to light.

From the moment the lights go up, it’s clear that John Bosco McLane is a proud (but judgmental and objectifying) man – but the fact that he has never had a female partner is utterly bewildering to him. He reckons he’s a good catch, and is adamant that all the local women are being snaffled by townies; unable to account for their boorish success with the women, he proclaims “maybe God is a townie, too.”

The performance consists of various recounts of those periods of his life where he was closest to fulfilling his amorous desires – and these range from the humorous (speaking to the local Father in confessional, the districts sudden interest in inflatable dolls) to the tragic. Keogh lays it all bare, ranging Bosco from giddily childlike when proudly detailing some exploits, through to the abject humiliation he suffers at the hands of the young.

At the end of the performance, he looks spent and drawn – “if I don’t matter, nothing matters” – he’s failed to define his own life through the eyes of another. His search for love is also a search for a perceived betterment in himself; thus, it’s essentially a sad tale. But it certainly doesn’t feel like it at the time; whilst initially concerned, Keogh’s performance is wonderfully well measured. Recommended.

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