The Space @ The Royal College of Surgeons
24–29 August, 17.40
As the audience filed up the stairs to be seated for ‘The Mikado’, we were gently berated by tuxedoed and bow-tied gentlemen about the state of our dress; on entering the auditorium, young ladies clad in black stalked the aisles carrying forbidding signs: ‘No Flirting’.
From the outset, I was really impressed by the singing talent of the performers. Both pianists were also superb. The soloists had lovely, rich voices – Pooh-Bah, Yum-Yum and Nanki-Poo particularly stood out for me, whilst the male chorus, in particular, provided beautifully executed harmonies with excellent diction. The costumes were arresting in black, white and red; and there was a clever use of fans during the song “I am so Proud”. “Were you not to Ko-Ko Plighted” was witty and wicked, whilst Katisha’s “Alone and Yet Alive” was poignantly sung.
However, to me it seemed that the performers were not hugely enjoying themselves, in spite of the music which they knew and sang so well. An example of this came in Ko-Ko’s ‘Little List’; though the lyrics as they stood were amusingly enacted, I felt it was a shame that the company had made the decision not to update it, thereby losing a comic opportunity. During the latter half of the performance, the cast became much livelier, which leant the final act sparkle.
This already polished performance of the well-loved operetta is only going to get better. I expect that the vivacity which began to show through in the latter stages of the evening will increase, and when it does, this will be an even better evening for the Gilbert and Sullivan enthusiast.