archive
links
essays

A Man of No Importance

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to issue its edict regarding "same sex marriage," the ghost of Oscar Wilde graces the boards at the Arvada Center, inspiring Alfie Byrne (Kevin Loreque), a bus conductor and director of an amateur theatre troupe in Dublin, to stage a production of the great wit's Salome at his church, despite the objections of Roman Catholic functionaries, who find it blasphemous.

Kevin Loreque as Alfie Byrne and Heather Lacy as Lily Byrne
Kevin Loreque as Alfie Byrne
and Heather Lacy as Lily Byrne
Photo: P. Switzer
First produced at Lincoln Center in NYC in 2002, A Man of No Importance—music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and book by Terrence McNally—gently makes the point that it is up to us, everyday people, to support each other, regardless of what self-appointed authorities may dictate.

Loreque's touching portrayal of Alphie, along with his pleasing tenor ("Man in the Mirror," "Love Who You Love," "Welcome to the World," "Poem," and more), form the basis of the through line, embellished by the neighborhood tavern's house band—Colorado's reknowned Irish quintet, Colcannon (Bodhrain and vocals, Mick Bolger; fiddle, Jean Bolger; flutes, Cynthia Jaffe; Guitars, Brian Mullins; bass, Michael Fitzmaurice), plus Arvada Center company music director, David Nehls, on keyboards, and assistant, Keith Ewer, on persussion—who warm up the auditorium, beginning 15 minutes before curtain, with various Emerald Isle classics.

From the neighborhood bar, which remains a fixture throughout the story, we slide into the neighborhood theatre, where the local amateur troupe's latest production has been shut down by the Archdiocese. Then we are on to the commuter bus, the third primary setting in this insightful and, ultimately, heartwarming look at coming out in the U.K.

Kevin Loreque as Alfie Byrne and Emily Van Fleet as Adele Rice
Kevin Loreque as Alfie Byrne
and Emily Van Fleet as Adele Rice
Photo: P. Switzer
Alphie's best friend and housemate is his sister, Lily (Heather Lacy), who hopes he will find a nice girl and settle down, but he's focused on poetry and theatre. Lacy's naive and optimistic Lily gives no hint of her forthcoming reaction, when she becomes aware of her brother's true nature. Her beau, Carney (Jeffrey Roark) is slated to play the male lead in Salome. A new passenger on Alfie's daily route, Adele Rice (Emily Van Fleet) has agreed, following Alphie's persuasive plea, to play the title role, a virgin temptress.

While hanging out with the driver of his bus, Robbie Fay (Peter Gosik)—with whom Alphie is secretly in love—at the neighborhood bar, Alphie gets propositioned by Breton Beret (Daniel Langhoff), which sets Alphie off on a course of self-discovery, wrestling with "the love whose name cannot be spoken."

Peter Gosik as Robbie Fay and Kevin Loreque as Alfie Byrne
Peter Gosik as Robbie Fay
and Kevin Loreque as Alfie Byrne
Photo: P. Switzer
In addition to Loreque's fine work, the production is filled with a number of stellar vocal performances, including Lacy's lovely "The Burden of Life" and "Tell Me Why," Roark's "Going Up" and "Confusing Times," as well as Roark's work as Oscar Wilde, Van Fleet's "Princess" and "Love Who You Love (Reprise)," Gosik's "The Streets of Dublin" and "Love Who You Love (Reprise)," and Lauren Shealy's "Our Father."

The acting troupe, which serves as the chorus and ensemble to Alphie's story, features well-drawn performances all around by Colin Alexander, Daniel Langhoff, Thadd Krueger, Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, Sharon Kay White, Paul Dwyer, Megan Van De Hey, Tim Howard, Robert Michael Sanders, Erik Sandvold, and Piper Lindsay Arpan.

Regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court rules, the larger problems of long-standing prejudices and hatred engendered by fear-based religious dogma remains. As A Man of No Importance so beautifully demonstrates, the answer to overcoming these poverty-striken notions lies in our hearts.

The Arvada Center's regional premiere of A Man of No Importance, directed by Arvada Center artistic producer Rod A. Lansberry, runs through May 17th. For tickets: 720-898-7200 or http://arvadacenter.org/on-stage/a-man-of-no-importance-2015.

Bob Bows

 

Current Reviews | Home | Webmaster