Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Monday, June 26, 2023

The Mikado @ Wilton's Music Hall...

Last Friday night Stuart, Andrew, Kevin and I went to see Sasha Regan's all-male The Mikado at Wilton's Music Hall in London's glitzy Shadwell.
Short review:
What a fun, funny, camp, refreshing and creative take on a much-loved classic it is; fabulous vocal talent and witty direction. We laughed and laughed.
Longer review:
Fans of genius director Sasha Regan (and I count myself as one) will be excited that her 2017 version of Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Mikado is back for audiences to enjoy. Last year's H.M.S. Pinafore and the previous The Pirates of Penzance went down a storm. And this show follows in that excellent tradition.
Not only is this show is as smart and witty as those previous productions, it's charming and tender to boot. If you are yet to see one of her all-male productions, then you really should. They are a fantastic night out.
With The Mikado, Regan has altered a bit more than is usual perhaps. There are many new lyrics, and the original location of Japan has been ditched - instead, the boys are all on a camping  trip – and putting on a show! 
Rest assured though, it’s still the same crazy Mikado world where sweethearts Declan Egan’s Nanki-Poo (renamed here as Bertie Hugh) and Sam Kipling’s Yum-Yum (renamed here as Miss Violet Plum) are threatened by all sorts of madcap laws to keep them apart.
As for the telling of the ridiculous story, the boys all say they are 'trying their best' and 'using their imagination'. That is to say, those taking on all the female roles themselves - rolling up their shorts and grabbing flowers for their hair. It's a production that's spiffing, uses lashings of good cheer, a couple of cricket bats, some tennis rackets, and a tent that moves around. A lot.
The simple staging is perhaps deceptive though. Designer Ryan Dawson Laight’s does a clever job. The scenery is inventive and causes many a chuckle. The background – a cut-out forest - allows for shady figures to sneak on and off stage giving us lots of notice of their arrival – and the careful lighting all adds to the other-worldly feel.
There is a lot of detail in the plotting too, much of it very funny. Lewis Kennedy’s Geordie Mikado (an accent Eurotrash would have been proud of) and David McKechnie’s Steptoe-inspired Mr Cocoa are accomplished performers who both delight. Also, Christopher Hewitt has a brilliant turn as spurned lover Kitty Shaw (formerly Katisha) complete with a on stage bicycle. And as for getting her to sing while pumping a deflated tyre - genius! It’s all massively entertaining. 
Yet Regan stays true to Gilbert and Sullivan's original intentions to make the piece a heart-tugging love triangle too. Hewitt's Kitty, although very funny, leaves us full of sympathy. She's been ditched for a younger model. The show is, after all, magically romantic, not least through the brilliant work of musical director and pianist Anto Buckley.
Regan knows Gilbert and Sullivan like the back of her hand and respects each and every character. Which unexpectedly allows both Owen Clayton and Richard Russell Edwards to stand out as Violet’s two battling friends. They are both rivals at any and every opportunity, stealing (or attempting to) each scene from each other, being both very funny and magnetic whenever they are on stage. This is just one example of how Regan offers a generosity that her cast who then respond so appropriately. The result is an atmosphere that simply radiates from the stage. Every performer was pitch perfect and perfectly pitched.
It was a great night out. The characters, the cast, and indeed we, the audience, all left happy campers.
PS: Hello David and David. Nice to meet you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.