The Mikado is a difficult show not to love: funny, quirky, colourful and packed full of some of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular and witty tunes. If you’ve never seen G & S, then The Mikado is absolutely where you should start. Although quite “silly”, it’s important to keep in mind that it was written as a parody of the Japanese obsession that was gripping middle-class London at the time. And it lends itself beautifully to the addition of contemporary references, especially in Ko-Ko’s big number I’ve Got a Little List.
But it is an easy show to do badly, so I approached opening night with caution.
My relief came almost immediately. SALOS have a winner on their hands. Simple, but effective production design; tight scene segues; intelligent direction and blocking; strong performances. This show has it all.
Stand-out performance from Stephanie Foy as Yum-Yum: her energy and professionalism were a delight to watch. Damon Hill in the pivotal role of Ko-Ko, brought a fresh humour and fleshed out a rounded character. David Roberts as Pooh-Bah, caught the humour, but his constant grappling with lines slowed his scenes down. Although a strong presence on stage, Christine Southby struggled vocally with Katisha and hammed it up far too much. Solid performances were delivered by Robert Maher as The Mikado, Susan Brooke-Smith as Pitti-Sing and Graham Loveday as Nanki-Poo.
Choral singing was tight and melodic as was the wonderful musical ensemble, under the baton of Helen Loveday.
This is a sharp, tight, shining piece of musical theatre, and deserves full-houses.
I would suggest however, that given the advanced, median age of most of SALOS’s audience, and it being winter, that 8pm is a somewhat late start.
My “object all sublime” is to see SALOS keep up this standard of work. Applause!
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Venue: Tower Arts Centre, Pasadena
Season: 6 – 16 August 2015
Duration: 2 hours 40 mins (including interval)
Tickets: $11.00 – $25.00
Bookings: Phone Pam 82946582