Music: Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics: W.S. Gilbert
Musical Director: Ben Holder
Reviewer: Sue Collier
This production of The Mikado was due to start at 7:30pm, but it was only at this point that the auditorium was opened to the public and an amusing explanation announced, namely that the stage curtains would not close. The outcome of this problem turned out to be advantageous as one was immediately struck by the colourfully vibrant and attractive stage setting.
Opera Della Luna brings colour, glamour, style and updated humour to this well-loved Savoy Opera. While the elegant costumes for the original D’Oyly Carte production of The Mikado were produced by Liberty, the strong reference to fashion is presented here within this production via the first act setting of the tailor’s shop owned by KoKo, the lord High Executioner.
This highly amusing modern production challenges those accustomed to the original D’Oyly Carte style. The opening rendition of ‘If You Want To Know Who We Are, (Gentleman of Japan)’ is accompanied by the rhythmic sewing machine treadles, and there is certainly nothing virtuous or demure about the costumes worn by the three little maids who dance and groove throughout the production.
A strong element of this production is the excellent six piece orchestra and in particular the distinctive percussionist Steve Fawbert contributes massively to the sense of humour and fun.
High levels of audience appreciation of tonight’s show were evident throughout, with many contemporary references made such as those responsible for selling PPI and the Scottish Nationalists being mentioned by Koko within the witty ‘I’ve Got a Little List’.
Christopher Diffey plays a handsome Nanki-Poo with a charming voice that gently trills throughout ‘A Wandering Minstrel’. His love interest is the character Yum Yum, played well with great style and humour by the glamorous Celena Bridge.
The voice of Louise Crane as Katisha was particularly strong and her comedic attempt to sit down while overdressed in a huge golden Christmas tree-like dress was highly amusing and resulted in her doing the splits while appearing to look rather like the character Dorian from Birds of a Feather.
The favourite ‘Here’s a Pretty How Do You Do?’ received three encores which were very entertaining and delightfully pleasing. The setting for the song was a garden and a number of challenging gardening props such as shears, insect repellent and a lawn mower were used during the ensuing group dance.
This is a very small cast with both the chorus and main rôles being played by only a handful of actor/singers. The quality of singing was generally good and the storytelling was strong throughout. One criticism, especially during the first act, was that at times the diction could have been clearer as it became lost behind the sound of the orchestra. Nevertheless Audience cries of “wonderful” could be heard at the end of the performance, and appreciation of this production was highly evident.
Runs until: Saturday 1st March 2014.