Mimi, Or A Poisoner's Comedy - Opera Buffa? Yes!Thursday, November 11, 2010
|Donald Adams & Jennifer Lines|
My wife and I attended the Touchstone Theatre opening performance of this musical tonight at the Firehall Arts Centre Centre (with association to the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts).
There was a new and most pleasant wrinkle. In performances past, the Firehall’s festival seating meant that if you wanted to sit up front (in a theatre small enough where every seat is really a good seat) you had to show up at least 45 minutes before performances and line up in the narrow looby/bar. This time around the Firehall has instituted numbered seating.
It is the numbered seating and something about the musical that gave me a feeling that I was in the right wrong place, or was that the wrong right place? During the whole performance in which both my wife and I laughed and laughed an I particularly savoured the performance of my favourite Vancouver comic actor, Donald Adams I had this strange feeling of rightness and or wrongness.
As we left, satisfied after a two hour performance that seemed a lot shorter, it hit me. I can see Mimi, Or the Poisoner’s Comedy as a soon-to-be produced opera buffa at the Queen Elizabeth care of the Vancouver Opera.
|Jennifer Lines & Peter Jorgensen|
This musical has lots of comedy but it does have its tragedy and saving-grace modern dialectics advice, “To be perfectly good you must also be perfectly bad.”
In many ways that defines for me this play. It has perfectly funny moments which are perfectly bad and over the top, just wait until you see Greg Armstrong-Morris (limbless, alas!) fall over pigeon pie (courtesy of JustCatering). In spite of all the shenanigans there was a serious streak that made the play more than the light musical the meets the eye and perhaps that is why I long to see Mimi, or A Poisoner’s Musical as a soon to be performed opera.
Going to the Firehall for some can be a problem, although to be fair there seems to be lots of empty spaces with parking meters around. For us it never is as our Malibu has municipal plates. I park the car on a loading zone on Cordova right next to a well lit charity institution. Walking by St James I noticed four men sleeping at the doors. When we left there was only one man. We wondered what had happened to the other three. Did they find better shelter? Across from our car there was an empty lot with tents and sopping wet mattresses. As we navigated west on Powell I saw that Oppenheimer Park was a lot worse than it ever was. There were many people on the street which was covered with garbage.
Twenty five years ago the three strip bars on Powell, The Drake Hotel, the Marr Pub and the Number 5 Orange hired me to shoot a poster that proclaimed the benefits of prowling Powell. In those days you could safely navigate (even in an inebriated state) Powell (which was well lit then) from the Drake to the Number 5 without being in fear of your wallet or your life.
Twenty five years ago the Firehall was not as neat and nice as it is now. Let us hope that this arts institution gets some city help and support (which the Firehall justly deserves) so that more people might venture at night for its varied cultural rewards.