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The plays of Molly Keane (1904 – 1996) 

molly keane writing in bed


M.J. Farrell was the pseudonym Molly Keane used for all of her plays, and most of her novels. Keane is best known for her late novel Good Behaviour (1981), which she published under her own name. but between 1938 and 1961 she published 5 plays under the pseudonym M.J. Farrell.

Keane’s plays were influenced by the plays of Noel Coward and gave her a platform for her fine characterisation and pointed wit. Famously Molly Keane was championed by John Gielgud who directed them. Her plays were produced by Binkie Beaumont. Spring Meeting (1938), Guardian Angel (1944) and Treasure Hunt (1949) were mildly fashionable for their time, while Ducks and Drakes (1942) and Dazzling Prospect (1961), were not, the latter – in a post-John Osborne world – being particularly out of place. The hostile reception afforded to Dazzling Prospect was one of the subsidiary reasons why Keane was reluctant to take up the pen for years afterwards.