Concert Hall’s Mikado hits all the right notes

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TV IMPRESSIONIST Alistair McGowan proved his talents as a director and singer in a new production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s light opera The Mikado which came to Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall earlier this month as part of a national tour.

Featuring favourites such as Three Little Maids from School Are We, the comic opera still resonated with a modern audience - if the rapturous applause at the end is anything to go by.

Written more than a century ago, the up-tempo rhythms and sparkling, witty words made this a joy to watch.

There were some changes to the lyrics - including satirical references to footballers and the Coalition Government - which worked very well and brought the performance up-to-date.

Written by composer Arthur Sullivan and lyricist WS Gilbert and set in the fictional Japanese town of Titipu, the opera tells the tale of Nanki-Poo (played by Oliver White), who is son of the Royal Mikado.

Nanki-Poo disguises himself as a Wandering Minstrel to escape the clutches of the fearsome Katisha (played superbly by Jill Pert) - but in the meantime, he falls in love with the beautiful YumYum, who is supposed to marry the Lord High Executioner Ko-Ko.

A farcical chain of events ensues as each of the characters tries to find their true love.

The stage set was minimal but the excellent comic timing of all the cast members, along with their vocal prowess, drew me into the story throughout.

Stand-out performances came from renowned Gilbert and Sullivan singer Jill Pert, who filled the room with her strong voice, as well as Richard Stewart as KoKo.

Alistair McGowen was also popular with the audience, who laughed uproarously throughout.

All the cast were well supported by the male and female choruses, along with the orchestra under the direction of Richard Balcombe.

- Catherine Allen