Hot Mikado – Shenfield Operatic Society
Modern variations of Gilbert and Sullivan classics are something we have all become familiar with and The Mikado has seen many of these including the Black Mikado and the Jazz Mikado. The Hot Mikado is no exception.
Shenfield embraced this show from the opening with a strong male company performing Gentleman of Japan. It was notable that some of the older gentlemen certainly had ‘all the moves’ and that swing feel and it was a real pleasure to see them dancing with such commitment and enjoyment.
Jack Lloyd as Nanki-Poo had the looks of a heart-throb in his first entrance and delivered his introduction to the character with the song ‘Wandering Minstrel’ well but it was when he was paired with blonde bombshell Liberty Watts as Yum-Yum that he really got into the character. The two worked well together, particularly in “This is what I’ll never do” Liberty also shone in her solo “The Sun and I” which she didn’t just sing beautifully but acted it well too.
Jamie Fudge as Pish-Tush and Lloyd Bonson as Pooh-Bah/’Lord High Everything Else’ were both strong and reliable performers on stage and were excellent foils to Allister Smith as Ko-Ko. Allister reminded me very much of Ray Bolger (famous for his role as Scarecrow with Judy Garland in Wizard of Oz) with an amazing rubber face and almost freakishly flexible body moves.
Paired opposite him as Katisha was Kerry Cooke who embraced this role fully. Her solo “Alone and Yet Alive” was so soulful and delivered a real punch in this otherwise upbeat and clap-happy show.
For me, however, the stars of this show were the voices of Kate Smith and Rachel Watson who both delivered exceptional vocal acrobatics in the end of act one section. This is what the show needs to give it the lift and different feel from the G&S original.
I absolutely loved the setting being ¾ in the round meaning that the cast had to work to all sides and I thought Director Louise Byrne did an excellent job in putting the show together in that format. The set’s simplicity with the stairs and side rostra gave height and allowed lots of lovely pictures adding to the overall enjoyment of the piece.
My only down on the evening was not related directly to the show but did affect my enjoyment and that was the theatre seating, there was simply not enough leg-room to sit comfortably and sadly I couldn’t wait for both acts to finish so that I could stand up and stretch my legs.
However, we left the theatre singing and dancing and the show was a delight from start to finish. I understand ticket sales have been good but if you can buy, borrow or steal a ticket to see this before it finishes then you will not be disappointed!