Classic 107 freelance contributor Sara Krahn gives us her review of Dry Cold Production's A Man Of No Importance. The Ahrens & Flahery musical has three more performances tonight (May 09), Saturday night (May 10) and a Sunday matinee (May 11).
Dry Cold Productions charms its audience with the power of theatre…
“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” Oscar Wilde’s sly words motivate the action in Dry Cold Productions’ “A Man of No Importance,” based on the 1994 Albert Finney film, with music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens.
The story sheds light on the life of Alfie Byrne (Arne MachPherson), an unremarkable bus conductor in 1960’s Dublin. Alfie‘s life is dry and full of quiet desperation, but when he decides to put on an amateur production, at the local Catholic church, of Salome, Oscar Wilde’s sordid little play about the execution of John the Baptist, things start to get interesting.
In the opening act, Alfie’s band of colorful theatre mates- the St. Imelda’s Players – draw his attention to the drama that is his own life, where he is the star of the play. With the help of his friend Oscar Wilde, the theatre of Alfie’s life unfolds, and he is forced to confront his own secrets: his love for the young and handsome Robbie, and his shame of hiding this secret from his sister, Lily, with whom he has always lived but never confided.
With ‘A Man of No Importance,’ Dry Cold Productions offers us a charming and poignant story of the costs of love and the redemptive power of art. ‘A Man of No Importance’ isn’t a tidy play; the characters are delightful with all their sweet blemishes, but the story is distressing. In the second act, Alfie laments, “We live our lives in dreams, how sad.” Arne MachPherson gives a heartbreaking performance, effectively portraying Alfie’s character as one that does not culminate in a simple allegory. Alfie is a victim of both social discrimination and his own cowardliness; his dishonesty is just as perilous to himself and the others in his life as the bigotry of the Catholic Church.
‘A Man of No Importance’ is equal parts inspiring and amusing – perhaps the ghost of Oscar Wilde popping in occasionally to give Alfie advice is a little too cute (“The only way to get rid of temptation is too yield to it”). However, this delightful play delivers a lot of substance. In the end, it is about a man who discovers that the power of art and theatre lies in its capacity to mirror the truths of our lives. Its story offers both funny and heartbreaking moments in tribute to the power of theatre, which transforms Alfie’s life in a way that, perhaps, he could not have done on his own. ‘A Man of No Importance’ leaves its audience pleasantly inspired to seek out the theatre that exists in our own lives, daring us to open our eyes and notice the loves around us that do speak our names.
Sara Krahn is freelance contributor for Classic 107. She is also a full time music student at CMU.
For more information visit the Dry Cold Production website HERE
For tickets , phone the MTYP box office at 204.942.8898 or visit them online HERE