The Mikado

Date 15th March 2016
Society Wolverton G & S Society
Venue Stantonbury Campus Theatre, Milton Keynes
Type of Production Musical/Light Opera
Director Richard Fraser
Musical Director Mike Croft
Choreographer Paula Fraser


Author: Alex Wood (for Jenny Chandler)

In many respects I enjoyed this Mikado a great deal.

The group brought the story bang up to date, latching on to the description of Ko-Ko as a ‘cheap tailor’ with the opening song, If You Want to Know Who We Are, the male chorus dressed in business suits holding their laptop bags and brandishing their mobiles in Ko-Ko’s trendy tailor’s shop. (The programme tells us he has risen in the world thanks to his new position in Titipu.). There were a few little mutters (not really hostile) round me at the interval but I thought the modern setting and rejigging of a few of the songs ( ‘Mi-ya Sa-ma Mitsubishi’ with plenty of ‘product placement’ was one innovation) was clever, funny and in keeping with the tradition of the ‘Little List’ song which is updated with each production.

As well as that the Three Little Maids from school became Ko-Ko’s interns – a clever touch, as was the use of office chairs for the delightfully sung duet 'Were You Not To Ko-Ko Plighted'.

Overall this was a good performance. That said a number of things were not quite right – which, with respect, I think they should be by the time the show is seen by the paying public. Most notable were a number of fluffed lines by some of the principals. As well as this some voices were quite weak – no mikes were used as far as I could see, which shows admirable ambition, but I was in the 6th row where strong voices could be heard very well when others were just lost to the air, which is a shame.

I especially enjoyed Nigel Harvey as The Mikado with crystal clear diction, a good singing voice and smashing comic timing. Graham Healing was just right as the Noble Lord Pish-Tush and Paula Fraser possessed great stage presence as Yum-Yum, well sung and acted with a lovely comedy sense.

Paddy Marshall – worth seeing for his costumes alone - had a few first night problems though I did enjoy his ‘puzzled simple northerner’ interpretation of the role.

The very able chorus was large, filling the stage with song and movement.

With a cast of around 30 there was plenty for wardrobe mistress Kim Bennett to do. Costumes for both principals and chorus were very good, totally appropriate for the modern, zany feel of the show. The set also reflected this, with its revolving door and lift.

The large band, led by Mike Crofts, was excellent.