Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Pat Kinevan gets the Keane nod

“I went to see him when he was playing for Cobh Ramblers in about 1989,” says the Cobh-born actor and playwright, Pat Kinevane, of Roy Keane, the legend he will portray when I, Keano returns to the Olympia later this month.

“I wasn’t even a huge football fan, but you could see then he was something very special,” says Kinevane, on a break from rehearsals. “It’s funny, when I moved to Dublin after that people would be saying, ‘oh, Cobh, that’s where Roy Keane’s from’. And I knew he wasn’t, he just played for Cobb. He was from the city.”

Kinevane says the fifteen odd miles between the city and his own birthplace makes for quite a different variety of Cork accent. “Mine is country. He definitely has a city accent, it’s a bit more pronounced, a bit more guttural. It’s the kind of accent I’ve been known to get after a few pints…”

Imitation is not, however, the name of the game according to Kinevane. “I didn’t see the original production and I’m delighted about that. There wouldn’t be any point in tying to recreate that. It’s much more interesting to arrive fresh and create something fresh from scratch.”

After Saipanistic disagreements among the first cast, Kinevane will be doing his creating alongside Conor Delaney, who takes over the part of Quinnus from Risteárd Cooper and Susannah de Wrixon, who plays Quinnus’ wife, Surfia (that joke has to go!). Gary Cooke’s epileptically funny Dunphia, happily, survives into this production, as does Dessie Gallagher’s extravagant assassination of Mick McCarthy.

Should things among the cast and crew get fraught this time, Kinevane seems unlikely to indulge in any Keano-styled rebellion: “I tend not to get involved in rows. I just go away and have a cup of tea if things are getting tense…”

Part of the reason, perhaps, that Kinevane missed the first run of I, Keano, was that he was busy rehearing and performing at the Gate, where he played the spookily camp manservant of an English gentleman in Brian Friel’s The Home Place.

“I just finished up in the Gate in the Friel and they are heading off to the West End with that, but I just didn’t want to go away for the Summer. I’ve a four and a half year old son, Kez, and I wanted to stay around with him this summer…I really hadn’t anything, and then I got this phonecall…”

The call could scarcely have come at a better time, not simply because it allowed Kinevane to stay in Dublin, but also because he was more than usual primed to take on the role of a sporting hero.

“As it happens, I’m very fit now. I put a lot of effort into getting myself fit before and after Christmas, doing a lot of yoga, just because I wanted to…And I’ve got good legs. I was filming King Arthur last year, playing a Roman so I was sure I was going to get to wear a tunic, but I had to wear a long, flowing gown and I was jealous of the rest of them. But, now I’ll get to wear it. Funny how things work…”

So did he like his “I, Keano” Photoshop job in last week’s Herald? “Sure them weren’t my legs at all, boy, though he has good legs too…”

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