Skip to main content

Review of The Mikado performed at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton by the Northampton Gilbert & Sullivan Group

Never having seen a complete production of any Gilbert & Sullivan show before and with mostly my only experience of their music coming from The Two Ronnies, the Northampton Gilbert & Sullivan Group's production was always going to come as a surprise. Opera has also never been on my list and I listened in a certain amount of trepidation to the opening "If You Want To Know Who We Are" and remained unsure to its end despite its impressive quality.

However with the arrival of "A Wand'ring Mistrel" in the form of Nanki-Poo (Tom Rushton), things all of a sudden became clearer and the comedy that I was expecting slowly began to emerge. It built from those opening few moments in my mind of not being sure if this was for me, to nearly three hours later my not wanting it to end.

We are presented at the start with a simple oriental set, stylish and clean which remains unchanged throughout the entire production. Against this backdrop the performers, bedecked in wonderful colourful costumes from the Costume Store, tell their tale of self-execution, love, false death and suicide. All the markings of lovely comedy!

Once again from an amateur production, the cast are superb (one single prompt all show on opening night is fine by me) and show a devilish amount of skill. Top of the honours have to be Charles Mills as Ko-Ko and Simon Crask as Pooh-Bah. Between them they crank the comedy levels to one hundred percent. Crask carrying his terrible burden at his waistband for tremendous comedy effect, as well as projecting his booming, pompous voice I am very sure to the distant edges of the upper circle. Mills though is the star through the whole production, a jovial but put upon presence and "smooth" dance moves during "Here's a how-de-do!". Also his little list performance during "As Some Day It May Happen" is just magnificently perfect. The rest of the cast are also all superb, including the wonderful sour-faced Katisha played by Ann Whittaker with her groping techniques (poor Ko-Ko). Rosie Kalve is also wonderful as Pitti-Sing and from my own ear, the best singer of the production.

The modern and local alterations to the show are excellent also, with many lovely new things "put on the list". Indeed after a minor few of last nights crowd, I have a few myself I might be putting on my own list. Kudos also for getting Weston Favell and London Midland into Gilbert & Sullivan. Also worth special, special mention are the fans (of the waving variety). There was a lot of my fans bigger than yours going on, and the actual fan work of the cast was superb, just stunning.

So once again I have yet another genre to be putting on my list (in a good way this time), it was an absolute hoot of a show, wonderfully put together by director Tim Hurst-Brown and featuring a superb fourteen group band directed by David Chambers. Go and put your botty-pooh in a sitipu position and see the wonderful Town Of Titipu!

««««½


Performance reviewed: Monday 16th March, 2015 at the Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton.

The Mikado is on at the Royal & Derngate until Saturday 21st March, 2015, details here: 
http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whatson/2015-2016/Royal/165951/?view=Standard

For further details about the Royal & Derngate visit their website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Education, Education, Education at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

This touring show from The Wardrobe Ensemble arrives at Northampton (a co-production location) with a substantial amount of success, proudly displaying on the programmes back cover ten review ratings featuring 43 stars from a possible 50. However not wishing to be swayed by such incredible past form, I settled in the Royal to attempt to form my own opinion of the situation blinkered as much as possible from the stars shining bright.

Education, Education, Education (henceforth known as Education. Phew!) is set on the day after the day before of Tony Blair and his New Labour sweeping to power in May 1997. We are in a "normal" comprehensive school as a new day, and a new hope dawns for the teachers and pupils alike. Flushed with this hope and a Eurovision win, things clearly will only get better. Or will they?

Education ticks a number of theatres loves for me early on, with superb use of music, sharp scene changes and best of all a quite brilliant series of movement pieces thro…

Review of The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde at Hackleton Village Hall, Hackleton

In pursuit of even more theatre, I ventured out to Hackleton to experience theatre company Group Eight for the first time, and their version of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (adapted here by Noah Smith).

The first observation, and not from a production point, is how neat this adaptation of the story is by Noah Smith. It keeps the mysterious world of Dr Jekyll and his experimental attempts of unlocking his dark side but also fleshes out the world around him. We have two incorporated narrators, Shelly and Stoker (no prizes for guessing where those names came from, and simply Maid and Butler in the original Smith version), who give us locations and inner thoughts as well as scene changing. They are very much the unnamed narrator of the original embodied. Also while we have the standard "Three Musketeers" of Lanyon, Utterson, and Jekyll himself, the character of Enfield is fleshed out far beyond the original, and with his new lady, Helen …

Review of Les Misérables: School Edition (NMTC Youth Society) at the Cripps Hall Theatre, Northampton

From my four years or so of watching theatre in Northampton, there is one thing beyond the huge professional shows that I see touring, that I always enjoy so much more (despite the occasional dodginess of the quality), and that is youth theatre. For me in my heart, it adds something special, here we have the often maligned young of today, getting out there and doing something truly fulfilling. Here though, with the debut of the newly formed Youth Society, spinning off from the adult Northampton Musical Theatre Company, we have something also which goes beyond enthusiasm of the young to create a really special piece of theatre.

Les Misérables is in the top three of musicals for me, I love its huge numbers, I connect to its story, and it has some extremely strong characters, for me, it just works. Therefore, you could say that I would have an immediate bias towards this show, however, I do feel protective of it as well, so, it needs to be done right. However, I have nothing to worry abo…