Although written in the mid 1960s, the John B. Keane book of the same title as the play that is currently in the Gaiety Theatre could be written this very day.
Despite all that is currently going on in government buildings – for real political watchers there is only one theatre to be in, and one story to enjoy, and that is the play, ‘Letters of a Successful TD’. The two hander stars Mary McEvoy and Jon Kenny of D’Unbelievables.
Mary McEvoy is a great actress, from her 17 years as Biddy on TV’s ‘Glenroe’ to her theatre touring over the past 17 years. However Jon Kenny, as Tull McAdoo TD, was quite a revelation here, because while comedy was to the forefront of his many performances here, he also showed that he could work on emotion and drama, writes David Flynn.
The two actors portray about 10 characters each, and the play is actually based on two of John B’s books, ‘The Letters of a Successful TD and ‘An Irish Minister of State’. It was adapted by the two actors and Michael Scott.
It is bizarre how nothing has changed in politics since the 60s, when Keane wrote his books.
Elections and re-elections are featured throughout the interesting story. The play talked about stuff like a TD buying land knowing that the land is up for development and making sure it is not in the TDs name. The dreaded ‘Independent’ name is uttered from start to finish. Also there is the creation of Ministers portfolios to please a candidate, and the adding of a candidate in a constituency to make life difficult for an older TD.
However standing outside the comedy, the play also shows the hard life experienced by a TD, where many sacrifices have to be made, not least of which is family life.
Lighting was well handled when needed and key lights were spot on for both Mary and Jon.
It’s well worth a look either in the Gaiety Theatre before it ends its run on February 18th, or later on, when it comes down the country. It’s a constant laugh throughout, thanks in no small measure to McEvoy and Kenny.
It’s not said which of the political parties Tull McAdoo is a member of, but for all political watchers ‘Letters of a Successful TD’ is a must.