Mikado

Date 14th November 2015
Society Battle Amateur Theatrical Society
Venue Battle Memorial Hall
Type of Production G & S
Director Sue Gladman
Musical Director Andrew J. Daniels

Report

Author: Anne Lawson

~~Disguised musician, Nanki-Poo escapes his Father’s court and arranged marriage to Katisha, not so young, nor beautiful, but has fallen head over heels for young schoolgirl Yum-Yum, who is betrothed to her guardian Ko-Ko. Upon hearing Ko-Ko has been sentenced to execution for flirting, does he now have a chance? Finding out of his reprieve and now holding the rank of Lord High Executioner, and that he is to marry Yum-Yum,  a cunning plan is devised to legally flirt.  The Mikado demands an execution within the month.  With now a tangled plan, involving bribery Pooh-Bah (Lord High of just about everything), Noble Lord Pish-Tush and Ko-Ko debate as to who should be executed. Wedding preparations are underway, it’s discovered that when a married man is executed, his wife be buried alive! Much, much more confusion and off the couple go to marry before the Mikado enters town. Katisha is devastated over her loss of her beloved Nanki-Poo. Ko-Ko has no choice now but to win her over and wed her – this is his life sentence? Nanki-Poo returns with his bride, Mikado is delighted to find his long lost son, and all ends with merriment for ‘He’s gone and married Yum-Yum’.
An A4 programme designed by Sheila Crighton, using action shot of the ‘three little maids’. Nicely set out pages, tongue-in-cheek profiles, adding comedy, portraits, acknowledgements, supporters advertising, a quiz and forthcoming info.  
With a most enjoyable overture, Andrew Daniels enthusiastically conducted the nine piece orchestra with first violin leader Nuri Koseoglu, through the twisting and turning opera, keeping the singers up to speed.  Well rehearsed lyrics were clear, well balanced, rich and strong with a fairly small cast.
The set was simple, designed by Director Sue Gladman. The backdrop a delightful wallpapered scene of snow capped Mount Fuji, in place throughout.  Two small flats were placed either side of stage decorated with blossom and below were two cubes with cushions.  A draped chaise longue stood centre, leaving a good working area with the minimum of SM and crew movement. Voile drapes came into the centre tied back with floral posies for the wedding scene, again simple and effective.
Costume designer Libby Montagu Grainger and assistants supplied the 20’s costumes. An overall appearance was of co-ordination, simplicity and neatness. Nobles wore evening dress with coloured bow ties, cummerbunds and sashes. School girls looked excellent in their gymslips again using contrasting burgundy hip girdles plus straw panamas, accompanied by two gowned teachers Nanki-Poo in his deckchair blazer and boater – perfect.  Ko-ko on opening exposed his legs in tennis shorts added comedy. Katisha’s ensembles were indeed royal complete with an excellent bob wig and head feathers. A beautiful effect in the wedding scene – attendants in delicate whites with Yum-Yum in a white and sparkly shift, braided hair and finishing touch bouquet, and black gowns and delicate contrasting jackets for four ladies. Good make-up, hair styling, wigs, footwear, personal props and headgear added to the overall picture.
Sound and lighting perfect throughout with Gary Crawford  at the back doing his stuff. 
With the combination of good music, a great cast, direction and updated humour what more could you ask for.  Sue’s expertise is both direction and dance and all movement was well executed, neat and slick. A very strong male opening chorus set the standard throughout.  Ko-Ko’s part played lithely by Rob Dyer added naughtiness and fun, making his list a little longer on a smart phone and an endearing Tit Willow! Opposite, and enjoying ‘channelling inner bloodthirstiness’ Carolyn Bruce played an imposing Katisha. Yum-Yum performed by newcomer Natalie Hill singing superbly, was ably assisted by her two cheeky sisters Lucy Sarsfield as Pitti-Sing and Charlotte Collins, Peep Bo. Second trombone player alias Nanki-Poo was particularly well executed – oh dear! by Alex Roberts, with Adrian Collins as Pooh-Bah  (holder of many lofty positions) performing to his usual high standard. Pish-Tush, the last of the male quartet, was Andy Gale’s first principal role certainly proved his worthiness. Dressed in immaculate white top hat and tails was the exulted Mikado of Japan, regally performed by Tim Gordon. The principals were supported by the strong ensemble work.