Just came back from seeing Ella
at the Guthrie with Johanna. Tina Fabrique is Ella Fitzgerald, and she's on stage during the whole performance. She originated the role, several years ago, and is quite comfortable in it.
Technically, this was Final Dress, with Opening Night tomorrow (Fri 7/24). I don't know what, if any, difference that makes, but it might make some. Certainly the beginning was only okay. The events take place during one concert in Nice, though there are many flashbacks. In the beginning, Fabrique was doing a good Ella Fitzgerald impression. Then, about 2/3 of the way through "You'll Have To Swing It (Mr. Paganini)", she SNAPS into High Gear, and remains astonishingly good, even improving, until the end. She really belts it out and gets into the scat singing.
The band is smokin'. All the musicians are great, though the trumpeter has the largest part and runs with it. The manager(s) plays a small but pivotal role.
I went for the music, but the book is quite affecting. The songs are best when played all the way through, and Fabrique is at her best when the music flows through her.
Highly recommended, and a dangerous way to start the Fringe Festival. Oh, the standards will be high...