The Mikado

Date 23rd March 2019
Society Hereford Gilbert & Sullivan Operatic Society
Venue Courtyard Theatre, Hereford
Type of Production G&S
Director Alistair Donkin
Musical Director Hannah Roper
Choreographer Alistair Donkin


Author: Louise Hickey

As the exceedingly well played overture ended and the house tabs went out, the set was perfect. The male chorus opened with a brilliantly choreographed ‘If you want to know who we are’ using large fans in ultimate sync. A comment from someone near me summed this up perfectly “Well that’s what you call an opening number”. The standard continued throughout this wonderful production.

The young ladies, Hannah Roper as Yum-Yum, Fleur Berry-Jones as Pitti-Sing and Emily Prosser as Peep-Bo were well matched and gosh, can’t they sing! Jonathan Sayce, Joe Wong and Ian Roper gave great supportive performances to the equally accomplished male principals Jim Smith as Pooh-Bah, Alan Durman as Ko-Ko and Russell Painter as Nanki-Pooh in the bigger roles. Of course, the inimitable force that is Gill Haslam playing Katisha made her presence known as usual.

Hannah and Russell were well matched: their voices blended so well. Hannah played the coquettish young maid opposite Russell’s charming travelling musician with ease. Her two fellow maids were extremely funny especially Fleur as Pitti-Sing whose facial expressions, when using a mirror, were hilarious. I loved the way the three maids using their hands and hissing, dismissed everyone. It was a lovey touch which had great effect.

Of course, for all Mikado aficionados the role you expect to be brilliant is that of Ko-Ko and Alan did not disappoint. His ‘list’ was topical and very funny, his physical movements were wonderful and his complete performance a joy. Together with Jim, rolling over on the floor, all the extra little moves had the audience laughing throughout. I particularly enjoyed the Madrigal where Hannah, Russell, Fleur and Joe’s voices were so well balanced.

As usual the direction of this performance was first class and, not to be out-done, the chorus had a lot to do as well. As mentioned already, the use by everyone using the fans was amazing and at no time was anybody out of step. The interaction between the chorus and principals was delightful to watch. It really was a wonderful show.