The group staged "A Man of No Importance" at the Barn Theatre
Oxted from 14th to 17th July 2010 to excellent reviews
A Man of No Importance, Good Company, Barn Theatre, Oxted. Reviewed by Theo Spring
This rarely performed musical attracted some of the cream of local amateurs. There were no weak links – each character was well developed and the musical numbers delivered with clarity as well as volume. A wall of sound in the harmony was thrilling.Alfie Byrne is a bus conductor, still living with his sister. His passengers become his friends and these friends become an amateur group. Robbie Fay is the handsome driver of the bus and it slowly becomes clear to both Alfie and the audience that Robbie is the object of Alfie's affections.Set in Ireland in the early Sixties, the cast conquered the accent in both speech and lyrics and they peopled the area around St Imelda's Church Hall with many characters, transforming themselves almost unnoticeably, using racks of clothes and wigs set on stage at the back.Chairs were moved with precision throughout to create the bus, rehearsal room, a grave and more.Keith Robertshaw rarely left the stage as the poetic conductor and thespian Alfie who was strong when directing his chosen play but more the little boy lost when faced with real life. Unfortunately, the content of Salome, the play Alfie chose as a homage to Oscar Wilde whom he venerated, caused uproar among the priest and some of his flock.Alison Rich created a thoroughly believable Lily Byrne, keeping house for her brother Alfie and hoping he would soon marry so that her own longstanding courtship could be fulfilled.Other outstanding performances were Tony Lee's many characters, Graham Jones as William Carney and Oscar Wilde, Owen Moore using his outstanding singing voice as Robbie Fay and Beci Sageman as Adele Rice.Among the solos and duets that stood out were Books sung by Lily and William and the poignant Cuddles Mary Gave from Ron White playing Baldy. Alfie's Love Who You Love, reprised by both Robbie and Adele shone too.
It was director Paul Longhurst's affection for the show which brought it to fruition and congratulations go to him, his cast, Rob Randall and his musicians and Jenny Kingman for her excellent set design and art.