Past Collaborators: Michael Keane

Past Collaborators is a feature where I look back at some of the performers I've worked with over the years, with an update of what they are doing now.

Michael Keane is an actor and improv artist from Westmeath who I've a great relationship with, knowing him from London Comedy Writers, as a guest on my podcast, and a friend.

I first met him when I moved back to London around 2014, at a workshop for a writer to explore a musical based on Mick Flannery's album, Evening Train, where we spent a few days rehearsing rewrites of the script.

It turned out he was an active member of London Comedy Writers, a writers' feedback group that meets up in South London. I had been part of it during university, but had not rejoined yet, mainly as I was not living in that part of the city.

LCW is a great group, where writers take their half hour script (normally a sitcom) and have it read by actors in a table read in front of the room and receive feedback. As a whole the group is very supportive of each others' efforts and I'll go into more detail about them in another post. Michael was one of the actors and always offered valuable feedback. I brought my play C.L.G. Cúmann Luchthleas Gael to the group and the feedback by Michael and the others was put into place a few months later in it's debut.

As an actor he can throw himself at anything - a skill well-nurtured in his celebrated improv group, BattleActs. They are a staple of the Edinburgh Fringe and are among the leading improv troupes in London, performing regularly across the city.

I saw him when he played the role of Richard 3 in a Shakespeare mash-up called Play of Thrones in the Union Theatre, Southwark. It was an incredibly inventive piece of theatre, using ladders and a few simple tools to draw the scenery on the stage. His portrayal of the embittered king, crescending into the sadistic torturer was unsettling for someone who knows him, but it was a masterful performance in a production full of them.

I met in him in Edinburgh again this year to record an episode of my Father Ted podcast, Ecumenical Matters which was covering the classic episode Chirpy Burpy Cheap Sheep. As always he was in great form and we recorded a great episode in the middle of a bustling town green with a cellist within earshot - it made for interesting atmos!

The breadth of his range is evident in this showreel from a few years ago, where he plays everything from a medievil crook to gentleman of high society,.