It's hard for audiences not to fall for soprano Mary Lou Fallis's stage charm. But her latest piece, Primadonna: The First Farewell Tour, speaks largely to operaphiles -- notably those who like their Anna Russell -- and to those in the Canadian classical music business.
We watch her self-parodying character Primadonna on the day of a tour launched in her hometown of Hurstford, Ontario. She struggles to get it all together, working with accompanist Peter Tiefenbach (who for some bizarre reason director Tom Diamond turns into a mute), choosing a gown and a program. Then, in the second act, the audience attends the concert.
Fallis is in good voice -- better than last year, in fact -- but her material would amuse those who scan Reader's Digest for its humour. Middle-of-the-road, predictable and filled with in-jokes, the script is as flat as a singer who strikes a G when she tries to hit an A.
Things are better in the second act's concert, but it's largely the singing, not the Victor Borge-style comedy-in-music, that works. The send-ups are silly rather than funny, and the heartfelt melodies are the most successful pieces in the show.
PRIMADONNA: THE FIRST FAREWELL TOUR, written and performed by Mary Lou Fallis, with Peter Tiefenbach, directed by Tom Diamond. Presented by Tacit Media at Canadian Stage (26 Berkeley). To August 5, Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday at 8 pm. $37-$45, some discounts. 368-3110. Rating: NN