A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
book by Terrence McNally music by Stephen Flaherty lyrics by Lynn Ahrens based on the film by Barry Devlin.
Arts Theatre 6 – 7 Great Newport StreetWC2H 7JB Yo 27 February 2010.
Tue – Sat 7:30pm. Sun 5:00pm. Matinee Wed and Sat 2:30pm.
Runs 2hrs 20mins. One interval.
TICKETS: 0845 017 5584.
Review: Geoff Ambler 11 February.
The fringe sets a high standard going up west.
2010 is destined be a big year for The Union Theatre; With their all-male Pirates of Penzance moving to Wilton’s Music Hall in April and A Man Of No Importance opening at the Arts in the West End, finally a wider, mainstream audience will get an opportunity to appreciate some of the finest theatre usually secreted away in the fringes, enjoyed only by theatre stalwarts and locals.
Alfie Byrne lives a simple life, seemingly a man of no importance, a bus conductor, a bachelor and a lover of poetry and Oscar Wilde. His passion for his local amateur theatre company, The St. Imelda Players, seems boundless and when the young and beautiful Adele arrives on his bus he realises he could finally stage Salome, the play with immodest dancing. Alfie’s Dublin is a very catholic one, his theatre is the church hall, Father Kenny, his friend and it is in creating this setting that Ben De Wynter has subtly captured the sense and strength of the local community, mixing intolerance, religion and humour in equal parts and the effect is captivating.
Alfie’s compelling story is seemingly light, but hidden depths are exposed as he tries to keep his secret closeted away. Paul Clarkson’s portrayal of this repressed, passionate man is understated and quite simply magnificent. A thoroughly wonderful ensemble fills the church hall with real, robust characters all delivering the wit filled book and lyrics with energy, skill and quite a bit of humour. Yet wit and humour do not overpower the tremendous heart, beating within the production. The sense of community and affecting emotion illustrated is a delight and it vividly colours every scene.
The Union Theatre regularly produce quite astonishing musicals within their railway arched home in Southwark and releasing A Man Of No Importance into the West End should magnify their reputation as a theatre of such importance!
Alfie: Paul Clarkson.
Carney: Paul Monaghan.
Robbie: Patrick Kelliher.
Adele: Róisín Sullivan.
Lily: Joanna Nevin.
Baldy: Anthony Cable.
Father Kenny: AJ O’Neill.
Breton Beret: Dieter Thomas.
Sully O’Hara/Bus Driver: Barra Collins.
Mrs Patrick: Nicola Redman.
Ernie Lally: Jamie Honeybourne.
Mrs Grace: Emily Juler.
Rasher Flynn: Daniel Maguire.
Miss Crowe: Ruth Berkeley.
Peter/Policeman/Carson: Niall Sheehy.
Mrs Curtin: Kimberley Ensor.
Monsigneur/u.s. Baldy: Adam Davenport.
Bodhran: Patrick Kelliher.
Guitar: Barra Collins.
Penny Whistle: Dieter Thomas.
Violin: Joanna Nevin.
Flute: Emily Juler.
Director: Ben De Wynter.
Designer: James Turner.
Lighting: Steve Miller.
Musical Director: Chris Peake.
Choreographer: Phyllida Crowley-Smith.
Costume: Frances Jones.