Poison, pies, pigeons and simulated 17th century sex: Mimi is to die for

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When it comes to promoting theatre, sometimes a little sensationalism helps and Greg Armstrong-Morris makes no apologies when he describes Touchstone Theatre’s Mimi (or A Poisoner’s Comedy) as all about “poison, pies, pigeon impressions and simulated 17th century sex”.

Greg Armstrong-MorrisBut while Armstrong-Morris (pictured right), who plays dual roles in this musical comedy, might take some liberties in his description of the show, the reality isn’t that far off, as Mimi tells the story of France’s most infamous serial killer, the Marquise of Brinvilliers.

Attracted to the show because of the macabre, clever and anachronistic script, Armstrong-Morris also points to the company as another reason for wanting to be part of Mimi.

“I’ve worked with almost all of these people before and I was excited to work with all of them again,” said Armstrong-Morris.  “Giddy would actually be the better descriptor.  I knew the creative bar was going to be set high, but I also knew I was working with a generous and talented team.” 

That is, perhaps, except for Touchstone Theatre’s Artistic Director Katrina Dunn. 

“Katrina was more of an unknown for me,” said Armstrong-Morris.  “I hadn’t worked with her before and was looking forward to a new experience.  And it really was.  Her process is not like mine.  But they complement each other well.  It was exciting to be pushed off my usual path, and approach the goal from a different direction.  It freed me up to discover things I probably wouldn’t have found otherwise”.

Getting that push from Dunn appears to have paid off for Armstrong-Morris with Vancouver Sun theatre critic Peter Birnie saying in his recent review: “Greg Armstrong-Morris tosses off fine comedic timing, whether as an Italian prisoner missing his mama or an outlandish beggar lacking limbs” and declaring the entire production “an appealing bon mot of murderous mayhem”.

More than just “a witty and hilarious musical about France’s most infamous serial killer” though, Armstrong-Morris also points to an attraction to the darker side of the human condition.

“There is something about the sinister choices many of these characters make, especially Mimi that we internally, maybe even secretly, thrill to, because we recognize that darkness” concluded Armstrong-Morris.  “And we’re better served by recognizing this part of our frail, incongruous human condition, than by trying to ignore or actively deny it. C’est la vie.  C’est la mort.  C’est fini.”

All that in a musical comedy. C’est la fun(ny).

Mimi (or A Poisoner’s Tale)
Firehall Arts Centre
10 – 20 November 2010

The tempestuous Marquise of Brinvilliers has a repressive father, a young lover, an accommodating husband, and a thrilling new hobby: poison. It doesn’t take her long to figure out that murder is even more delicious than an evening of debauchery. A witty and hilarious musical about France’s most infamous serial killer. Tickets and more information available online.

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