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 The Full Monty at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

The 1997 film The Full Monty is one of the best regarded of relatively recent British films, due to it being both a warm and emotionally strong tale, solid comedy and a wealth of acting talent, and it's no surprise that its very theme has spawned an immensely successful touring stage version. It literally overflows with the opportunity to be performed in front of a, probably mostly female, audience, well, the final scene does, in any case. However, what of the rest, and how about for a male audience member? So to speak. Well, it was time to find out.

The first thing that is apparent from The Full Monty stage show, is how faithful this is to the film. Much of the show is what you have seen if you have seen the film, but translated cleverly to the stage, it feels just that little more real and gritty as well. It opens with a nicely staged scene of darkness and flashes of a torch as Gaz (Gary Lucy), his son Nathan (Fraser Kelly) and Dave (Kai Owen) break into their former factory wo…

Review of The Rocky Horror Show at Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes

Seeing the 46-year-old Rocky Horror Show at the theatre for the first time is quite an experience on many levels. First and foremost as a regular theatregoer, the audience, even on a relatively demure evening of a Monday, is something you would never really experience at a theatre beyond this show. Many are dressed up (even on that demure Monday), and so many are so in tune with the show, that these regular fans have become entwined within it. They know every word of the script, they contribute to it, they enhance it, often they make Richard O'Brien's already adult content into something much more adult. It's a revelation of experience, much before a newbie such as myself even considers the show.

Laura Harrison's beautifully clear rendition of Science Fiction/Double Feature sets the scene for some generally excellent performances of O'Brien's classic tunes, in a musical which is clearly audible, sadly not something that always happens with many productions.

Ou…

Review of The Same Faces - 27th August, 2016 at The Black Prince, Northampton

My one and only other previous experience of live improv was in the hands of the venerable Mischief Theatre team and a performance of Lights! Camera! Improvise! in London in 2015. It was a heck of an evening to see them weave a movie from a mixture of inputs from the audience, and was quite a team for The Same Faces to follow.

Founded by Tom Young, The Same Faces have been performing in Leicester and Northampton for a number of years and have swelled their ranks of performers to allow a huge amount of variety to not only the show but those bringing it to the stage. For my first encounter with the group, the performers I was to see were Tom Young himself who was joined by Dave Gotheridge, Jen Kenny, Thomas Lawrence and Becky Moore and musician David Burton. The format is simple, through a series of games the audience provide key ingredients to allow the performers to bring the stage alive with their impulsive talent. These can vary from the very simple addition of numbers or colours, to…