August 20, 2008

A belated review - The Mikado

Last week B & I went off to see the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta "The Mikado" - produced by Simon Gallagher's group EssGee.  (you might recall S.G as Frederick in the Australian cast / Jon English version of Pirates of Penzance from the 1980's)

It's still playing in Brisbane until the 24th so if you are local and have the dollars to spare, pop along -

The Cast
Nanki-poo, a wandering minstrel - Graeme Isaako  (his first time as lead man I believe. Very enthusiastic, okay voice. Obviously having a good time)

Pooh-Bah, Lord High Everything Else - Colin Lane (from the comedy duo - Lano and Woodley.  I was amazingly surprised at how well he did in the role, having expected him just to coast on through as 'straight man to David Collins'.  He had definitely made the role his own by the end of the performance)

Ko-Ko, Lord High Executioner of Titipu - David Collins (one half of the comedy team "The Umbilical Brothers".  His acting style is heavily physical - his singing only so-so and up till his "mouth as an outboard motor" in the kissing scene I was thinking him badly miscast. [and yes.. it's as bad as it sounds - plus very funny].  Still think he was one of the weaker links in the production but he got the job done (and didn't muck up "Tit-willow" too badly)

Yum-yum, ward of Ko-ko - Helen Donaldson (I've seen about 3 of Helen's previous lyric roles - she's got the voice to fill the theatre unaided by any electronic means and a definite classy performance style.  Sadly I thought her a bit wooden in this performance but wonder how much of that was due to the over-exhuberence of everyone else around her)

The Three Little Maids, Sisters to Yum-yum and wards of Ko-Ko : pitti-sing, Peep-Bo & Yo-Ko - The Absolutely Fabulettes (think Las-Vegas do-whop style caberet act) (Diana Holt, Kaitlin Oliver & Danika Saal)  [yes.. they have added a little maid - just in case you are keeping count at home]

Katisha, a mature lady - Julie Anthony [Her Right Elbow! Wowza!!]. Magnificent voice and gosh she's got nice legs!

The Mikado of Japan - David Gould [oooh Yummo!]

The Ensemble was all male - most of them muscular (Random - you'd have loved it!) and ranged from - "Very toned with moderate voices"; to "Okay bodies, better voices", and two who were "comfortably chubby but wow-could-they-sing"

Over all, It wasn't too bad, although I've seen other productions where the singing was far better across all the cast (they had their non-lyric trained singers miked-up. It was really obvious every time Helen Donaldson (Yum-yum) and Julie Anthoy (Katisha) duetted with anyone. They're full lyric trained so had no mikes - sound guys must have been going crazy trying to find some sort of balance [they failed a bit] 

Otherwise it was excessively energetic - everyone in the cast was obviously enjoying themselves (all so young other than two leading ladies! - almost felt like a High-school production at times).  The Mikado himself was played by a really scrumptious Baritone - great voice, well trained. He was in Seachange as Surfer Dan if you ever saw that show (really REALLY scrumptious ;D)

The curtain call finale is the traditional EssGee "lets do this with jazz" ending - everything ramped up, the crowd encouraged to clap along to the singing and the Fabulettes in sparkly nightclub dresses.  Added to this real fireworks going off on stage and a confetti bomb that went off overhead of the audience (I made the mistake of trying to breath in when it happened and coped a lungful of sparkly bits)

So not a bad evening out at all but probably not for the die-hard Gilbert & Sullivan Fan