The Mikado review

Bringing a 130 year old opera bang up to date with references to Jeremy Kyle, the Go Compare Man and those ever present Meerkats has the audience howling with laughter from the off.

By Manchester's Finest | September 23rd '13

Silly, bonkers and flamboyant with a sprinkling of just plain daft, is exactly what you expect from a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta and Opera Della Luna with their current production of The Mikado certainly delivers on that front. Bringing a 130 year old opera bang up to date with references to Jeremy Kyle, the Go Compare Man and those ever present Meerkats has the audience howling with laughter from the off.

The Mikado at the lowry

We follow the story of Nanki-Poo (Tim Walton), son of The Mikado (John Griffiths) whom several months earlier had fallen in love with Yum-Yum (Victoria Joyce); who was unfortunately already betrothed to Ko-Ko, (Richard Gauntlett) a local tailor. However, Nanki-Poo has since learned that Ko-Ko has been condemned to death for flirting, and has returned to find Yum-Yum, his true love, whilst disguised as a wandering minstrel, are we all keeping up? So follows ridiculous situation after ridiculous situation which all add to the comedy of the piece.

Gauntlett’s comedic performance as Ko-Ko is lapped up by the audience; his operatic voice is not the strongest but this doesn’t seem to matter as his ad-libs are greeted with playful groans and appreciative guffaws. The booming voice of Carl Sanderson is well suited to playing Pooh-Bah, his pomposity enables us to believe the somewhat unbelievable fact that he holds endless titles including, First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice, Commander-in-Chief, Lord High Admiral, Lord Mayor and Archbishop of Titipu to name but a few!

This small cast and production succeeds in making the Mikado current and accessible, silly fun that’s not going to win any awards but will certainly bring a smile to the face.

Walton is well suited in his role as Nanki-Poo, hopelessly in love with Yum-Yum (Victoria Joyce) yet hounded by predatory cougar Katisha (Louise Crane) who has more than an element of Dorien Green from Birds of a Feather about her. Joyce although vocally good didn’t quite seem settled in her role as Yum-Yum, not quite as fun and as flirty as we would expect from this central character.
The Orchestra played the score beautifully and at times when the diction of the ensemble was tricky to decipher gave the audience a focus. The attention to detail from the wardrobe department is impressive; Ko-Ko’s Gautier-esq costumes are beautiful, it was clear that the Company’s trip to the Versace exhibition in New York has had a huge influence on the style of the production, the colours are bright, the textures and patterns absorbing.

This small cast and production succeeds in making the Mikado current and accessible, silly fun that’s not going to win any awards but will certainly bring a smile to the face.