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Posted by : RodDungate on Jul 20, 2006 - 05:35 PM Archive
HOT MIKADO: from Gilbert and Sullivan
Watermill Ė West Berkshire Playhouse until 2nd September
Running time 2 hrs 20 mins
Review: Stewart McGill, 19 July 2006

Quite simply amazing!

This reworking of Gilbert and Sullivanís The Mikado adapted by David H Bell and Rob Bowman is a fast paced, dynamic, exuberant and hilarious entertainment to celebrate what has been a very successful and landmark few years in the development of music theatre at Watermill. Yet a statement like that is a little po-faced and theatre-academic when the show is really a sweep of daftness from start to finish.

Craig Revel Horwood directs a multi skilled ensemble of actor-musicians giving a big band sound in the auditorium, which resembles a ďmock KabukiĒ theatre. We take in contemporary Tokyo, Manga and a wave of musical genres in a show that is often very up front for the more sedate Berkshire audiences. Itís a thrusting, suggestive, wild and hot Mikado that brought the house to its feet in a collective whoop of approval.

With Watermill ensembles itís often difficult to name individuals as so much superb musical and performance talent is spread throughout the Company. I have to acclaim Karen Mannís dominating Katisha, Ian Cunninghamís Pooh-Bah and the amazing Yum-Yum of Nicola Hughes, in a cast of huge talent. Even award-winning musical director Sarah Travis, hit the keyboard as Ting-Tong!

Everything about Hot Mikado is extreme, sound, design, lighting music, performances and a feeling that the Watermill is about to take off in a blaze of delight. This is not Sondheim, donít look for meaning in the text or layers to remove within the characters. See it for its sheer capacity to make you feel the summer is going to last a long time and there is nowhere better to enjoy it than the Watermill.

This was programmed by Jill Fraser before her sad death earlier this year. I guess she was smiling as we left the first night with a knowing grin that the time is right to let the collective hair down. I canít wait to see it again and would not be surprised if West End producers were queuing up at the doors eager to move it to London.

Loved it!

CAST
In alphabetical order

ANDREW ALEXANDER Nanki-Poo
ROBIN COLYER Lo-Bo
IAN CONNINGHAM Pooh-Bah
NEIL DITT Tap-Ting
GEORGINA FIELD Peep-Bo
CHRISTOPHER FRY Long-Fong
JEFFREY HARMER Ko-Ko
NICOLA HUGHES Yum-Yum
JUNIX INOCIAN The Mikado
REBECCA JACKSON Lo-Sing
KAREN MANN Katisha
KIT ORTON Pish-Tush
HELEN POWER Pitti-Sing
SARAH TRAVIS Ting-Tong


Director: Craig Revel Horwood
Musical Director & Musical Arrangements by: Sarah Travis
Designed by: Diego Pitarch
Lighting by: Richard G Jones
Sound by: Gary Dixon






 
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