The Mikado

Date 20th March 2024
Society New Rosemere
Venue Bolton Little Theatre
Type of Production G&S
Director Paul Cohen
Musical Director Paul Stanley
Written By Gilbert and Sullivan

Report

Author: Liz Hume-Dawson

New Rosemere’s Gilbert and Sullivan production this year is the Mikado - one of the most performed of their works opening in 1885 at the London Savoy where it ran for 672 performances.

The set simple, but striking in black and red. With silk banners hanging down in red looked good against the black. A false wall at the back creating a central entrance with more of the red framing the entrance and each side a Komainu (Lion Dog). Blossom trees in pots were either side of the stage at the back and down Stage Right and Left. Then various props were brought on and off by the cast. Stage Manager Janet Hardman and Stage Props and Set, Janet Hardman and Sue Aspinall. Sound and Lighting all helped to enhance the set and scenes - Sound and Lighting by Dale Wilson and Carolan Hannah. Costume and wig all looked appropriate - Costumes supplied by The Boyz and Wardrobe by Janet Hardman.

Musical Director Paul Stanley leads the brilliant Orchestra that blended well through the score and created a lovely sound under his guidance. I particularly noticed the Percussion sound. Leader - Janet Hitchen, 2nd Violin - Paul Witkiewicz, Viola - Anthony Hemming, Cello - Phil Turner, Horn - Jane Brooks, Percussion - Geoff Brain, Flute - Julie Leach, Oboe - Jenny Downing, Bassoon - Carole Lormor, Clarinet - Pamela Lyons, Trumpet - Ian Cull and Trombone - Peter Ledder.

Paul Cohen directs and Gilbert and Sullivan, known for their comments about contemporary society and the government, makes the most of the libretto by making it current, honing in on the comedy. Some great pictures were created with characters on stage - it’s clear the cast and Paul had fun. Some great touches Gilbert and Sullivan would be proud of.  

The Ladies and Gentlemen were supportive and added to the performance. The Three Little Maids were Christina Harper playing Pitti-Sing, Heather Molloy played Peep-Bo and Eleanor Molloy as Yum-Yum. All three working well together and in particular it was announced that Eleanor had lost her voice, so off stage Debbie Thew would be singing and talking for her. I must say the lip-sync’ing was amazing and Eleanor gave it her all without voice. The Mikado was played by Mike Nash-Whitmore who loved a good execution - just not his sons. There was a line fluff in a song but he soon recovered and, hey, it’s live theatre. Heather Nicolas played the cougar Katisha who has a rather fantastic shoulder and elbow. Having lost her toy boy she does get her man.

Andrew Exley played Pish-Tush - loved Our Great Mikado, Virtuous Man - great characterisation. Leon Waksberg played Nanki-Poo disguised as a wandering minstrel 2nd Trombone and in love with Yum-Yum and not wanting Katisha’s advances. What a journey he had and in great voice too. Well played.

David Seager took on the role of Pooh-Bah – ‘Lord High Everything Else’ - he had so many titles he literally could have a word with himself. Very haughty and hilarious. Last but not least is Peter Haslam as Ko-Ko the Lord High Executioner of Titipu who once was a cheap tailor. Peter brought his own humour to the role - sometimes cheeky chappie, sometimes schemer. Loved the reference to Rishi, Boris, Keir and even Matt Hancock - also, local place references. Peter looked like he enjoyed every moment and the stage lit up when he entered. His physicality was good and loved On A Tree By A River - the famous Titwillow song. I also enjoyed See How The Fates Their Gifts Allot. Excellent characterisation Peter. This was a laugh out loud evening - well it was for me, I’m sure you heard me. New Rosemere must be so pleased with this production. Thank you for the invite and hospitality from my guest Angela and I.

 

District 5 Rep

Liz Hume-Dawson