REVIEW: The Mikado at Cambridge Arts Theatre


Mikado - Credit: Archant

Opera della Luna presents The Mikado at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, October 12. Review by ANGELA SINGER.

Beautiful to see and inspiring to hear, Opera della Luna stages Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta with flamboyance and fun.

A cast of seven with no chorus, seems to have something missing on the stage at first but Opera della Luna, which also has a seven-piece orchestra, makes up for it with virtuoso performances, strong voices, engaging dancing (there’s nothing as delightful as a little bit of tap) and comedy just staying on the right side of pantomime.

This is Gilbert and Sullivan with passion. John Griffiths as The Mikado is stupendous. Hearing him sing new lyrics to Let the Punishment fit the Crime is a perfect joy. He also plays Pish-Tush.

And who wouldn’t enjoy Tim Walton as a dashing Nanki-Poo, Richard Gauntlett as Ko-Ko, Carl Sanderson as Pooh-Bah, Victoria Joyce as a delicious Yum-Yum, Nichola Jolley and Louise Crane as the other two little maids Pitti-Sing and Peep-Po and Louise Crane again as a heartfelt Katisha. They are the magnificent seven.

This production takes its cue from the fact that the costumes for original 1885 performance were a central part of the show. In a London fervent with all things Japanese, the costumes were made by Liberty of Regent Street from imported Japanese fabric.

There was an embargo on the fabric to prevent pirate productions. When an American company came to London to buy the costumes, Liberty refused to do business with them. In desperation they went to Paris only to find that the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company had sent an agent there to buy up every Japanese costume he could find.

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How did wardrobe Kirsty Rowe and Charlotte Boyle and designer Gabriella Csanyi-Wills follow that? They did what Gilbert and Sullivan would have done today. They took their inspiration from Gaultier, Versace and particularly Lacroix. All is saucy colour and glitter.

And wow-factor style. Yum Yum’s sheer, black, see-through dress, in which she sang The Moon and I, must surely have been desired by every woman in the audience.

It’s a show that sparkles.