A comic opera set in stone

The Mikado

The Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company

Grand Theatre. Wolverhampton

****

IT would be difficult to imagine a more suitable production than this to celebrate the anniversary of the laying of the Grand’s foundation stone exactly 120 years ago.

The acclaimed Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company were also making their final appearance after a week at the theatre staging three of the G&S classics, and what a superb performance they gave.

Set in the fictional Japanese town of Titipu, the story is packed with delicious humour with love and the threat of execution on the agenda.

Simon Butteriss, who also directed the operetta, gave a superb performance as Ko-Ko, the somewhat reluctant Lord High Executioner who planned to marry the beautiful Yum-Yum but ended up having to wed the rather plain and elderly Katisha in order to save his own skin.

He delighted the audience with the song about his ‘little list of people who never would be missed’ . . . including a fan who tipped Wolves to win the cup; an international footballer who took a bite out of an opponent; and a Prime Minister who employed a hack who turned out to be a crook!

Nick Allen and Claire Lees sparkled as the young lovers, Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum, while Bruce Graham excelled in the role of Poo-Bah, the Lord High Everything Else, and there were outstanding contributions from John Savournin (Pish-Tush) and Sylvia Clarke (Katisha).

One disappointment for me was the decision to make the Mikado (Matthew Kellett) a fun figure rather than a scary ruler.

Great chorus work, and fine music from the National Festival Orchestra conducted by David Steadman.

Paul Marston

28-06-14

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