Musical Theatre

Sasha Regan's All Male The Mikado at Theatre Royal Bath

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Posted on 20th April 2017

Sasha Regan's All Male The Mikado

Theatre Royal Bath

19 April, 2017

The boys are back in town with another hilariously high-camp show, this time with the premiere of Sasha Regan's new production of Gilbert & Sullivan's best-loved operetta The Mikado.

The director's award-winning all male company has already wowed previous audiences – none more so than in Bath – with her inventive gender-changing productions of HMS Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance

This time she has taken the Japanese-set tale of love, corruption and execution – cover for Gilbert's satire on British institutions and politics – and transferred it to a very English 1950s school camping trip in the faraway town of Titipu.

With men in short shorts playing lords, maids and school-girls it's a cheeky romp with such a flavour of Carry On Up The Mikado that one almost expects Kenneth Williams to pop up. 

Instead, the talented 15-strong cast, some of them familiar faces from the earlier productions, add a new level of wit and humour to a comic opera that is still hugely popular more than a hundred years after it was first performed. 

The characters of Nanki-Poo, Ko-Ko, Pooh-Bah, Yum-Yum and the little maids are as familiar as ever and and Sullivan's light-hearted musical numbers have lost none of their charm.

The story speeds along to all the well-known songs including A Wand'ring Minstrel I, Here's a How-De-Do and Willow Tit Willow. Some – especially perennial favourite Three Little Maids here simpered sweetly by men in shorts shyly fluttering fans – bring cheers and impromptu applause from the audience.

There are stand-out performances from Alan Richardson as Yum-Yum whose solo The Sun, Whose Rays are all Ablaze goes down a storm, and Alex Weatherhill as spurned older woman Katisha. His portrayal of her as pantomime dame on a bicycle brings plenty of chuckles.

The cast is altogether excellent with some fine voices and terrific vocal harmonies from the chorus thanks to the accompaniment of musical director Richard Baker.  Holly Hughes' choreography is lively and entertaining.

This is a show full of hi-jinks and jollity – if you enjoyed the previous Sasha Regan productions you'll love this one too.

The Mikado is at the Theatre Royal Bath until Saturday 22 April before continuing on its UK tour. Contact the theatre box office on 01225 448844 or go online at www.theatreroyal.org.uk for times and tickets.

Jackie Chappell

Photo: Alan Richardson as Yum-Yum, Richard Russell Edwards as Peep-Bo, James Jukes as Pitti-Sing, Benjamin Vivian-Jones as Pish Tush and Richard Munday as Nanki-Poo

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