So what we’ve got here is a play within a play within a musical. Within the musical we meet a community theatre group called The St. Imelda’s Players, in 1964 Dublin. This is real church basement community theatre. They know they’re not very good, but it doesn’t matter. They just love doing it. Of course isn’t that why we all do community theatre.
The troupe is led by Alfie Byrne, a bus conductor in his 40’s and lover of Oscar Wilde. He lives with his sister Lily, who is looking after him until he gets married, at which point she can marry Mr. Carney, the butcher next store. Alfie wants to put on Oscar Wilde’s play Salome, but the church has objections. The troupe decides to put on a play about Alfie and the St. Imelda’s Players doing ‘Salome’.
Throughout the play we meet others in Alfie’s life such as Robbie Fay, a bus driver and Adele Rice, a newcomer to Dublin who will play the Princess Salome. We get to know the troupe of ‘players’ and we learn about important relationships between Alfie and Robbie, and Alfie and Adele. We learn, as Alfie does, how little he knows of some aspects of life, and how hard it is to be true to himself. We see Alfie push through fear with the help of Oscar Wilde.
The revelations learned by Alfie and others in the play change but don’t negate his most important relationships, with his sister, Robbie and Adele. He continues to believe that you must ‘love who you love who you love. In the end, after a tumultuous journey through the play, Alfie is left with a sense of freedom and hope.
There are many other intricacies of the story, but you’ll have to come to the show to find out the rest!
I’ll leave you with a video of Shaun Toohey, who plays Alfie, learning a song that he sings in the pub one night, a taste of the beautiful music in this show. (Paul Legault, our Music Director, on the piano).