|The Mikado's at the Tabard Theatre|
Hooray, says our reviewer Penny Flood
Pulling Focus at The Tabard have a good track record in producing Gilbert & Sullivan works, and following on from Rudigore and Pirates of Penzance, this one’s bang on target.
The singing’s lovely, the dancing’s lovely, the music’s lovely, the story is, of course, daft and the whole thing is very funny and quite delightful. I defy anyone to leave without a smile on their face.
It’s about a young lad Nanki Poo who leaves town to avoid an unfortunate marriage with an older woman, Katasha. When he comes back, disguised as a musician, he falls in love with Yum Yum. The love is returned but Yum Yum is betrothed to Ko Ko, the newly appointed Lord High Executioner, and the wedding is set for that afternoon.
It’s Gilbert & Sullivan so of course there’s plenty of class snobbery, and when it’s revealed that Nanki Poo is the Mikado’s brother the whole thing rapidly becomes a hilarious How-de-Do.
Director Matt Johnson has given full rein to his imagination while staying true to the spirit of the original, taking only a few liberties which most of the time work very well. Ko Ko has been transformed to a cute young man (which makes his ghastly fate even sadder), the three little maids are mini-skirted, gum chewing, mobile-phone-brandishing, teenage horrors, and the boys have to wear flowers in their hair to make up the numbers in the girls’ set pieces.
Look out for Ko Ko’s song about his little list, which has been brought bang up to date to include horse meat in lasagne, bankers, mobile phones on trains, Simon Cowell, footballers and Jeremy Kyle to name but a few who will not be missed. It brought the house down.
The action has been moved out of Imperial Japan into an English golf club and I’m not sure that it works very well, but it doesn’t detract from the fun.
As it goes on the plot twists come thick and fast - who’s going to live, who’s going to die and who’s going to marry Yum Yum.
The young cast of just eight people give it their all, and they do seem to be enjoying themselves, accompanied by a smashing band of four musicians who play keyboard, clarinets, flutes, piccolo and bass.
It ends with a great big joyous chorus of ‘He’s Going to Marry Yum Yum’ but they only do it once. A second encore where the audience could really get stuck in and clap along would have been great.
Katisha: Suzanna Kempner
Peep-Bo: Eleanor Knight
Ko-Ko: Ed Norwood
The Mikado: Stiofan O’ Doherty
Pooh-Ba: Andrew Pugsley
Nanki-Poo: Michael Riseley
Pitti-Sing: Michelle Witney
Director: Matthew Johnson
Designer: Chris Hone
Musical Director: Jerome van den Berghe
Producer: Pulling Focus Ltd for the Tabard Theatre
The Mikado plays at The Tabard Theatre
Wednesday 20 February to Sunday 17 March 2013.
Tuesday – Saturday @ 7:30 pm.
Saturday @ 4pm
Sunday @ 2:30pm
No performances on Mondays.
Tickets are priced £19 (£17 concessions, £15 children)
March 1, 2013