The Mikado: 1997 Reviews

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Salisbury Journal

by Kevin Catchpole

Joyful Mikado Displays a Fine Array of Talent

In the best tradition of Hot Mikado, Swing Mikado and the Black Mikado, came last week Salisbury Amateur Operatic Society’s own “new” Mikado, noting a recent political landslide and the end of the craze for Irish dancing in a truely spectacular production of the 102-year-old classic.

Tightly directed by David Turner, with musical direction by John Dempster, this was a revival of Savoy to savour.

For a few early moments I feared that inhibitions might spoil an evident array of material, talent and specticle. Happily, the combination quickly got to work with their spell on the large audience, many of whom might have been enjoying Gilbert, if not Sullivan for the first time.

And for the relief of radio mics, much thanks; we always knew the tunes, now we have the words as well.

The Mikado was tellingly portrayed by new member Crispin Ingham. And how enterprising of the society to bring in from Bournemouth Gilbert and Sullkivan Society such a worthy tenor as Stephen Hill to add such joy to Nanki-Poo.

It was a mood captured throughout the principal roles, not least by Lorraine Blakey (Yum-Yum) and a delightful trio of miscreants in David Coxon (Pooh-Bah with presence), Nicola Bell (Petti-Sing) and Michael Bolton whose Ko-Ko was a performance of particular charm.

Jill Cocovini’s Katisha, we have to complain, was a mite on the pretty side, though she approached her lesson of the educated palate with fair relish and sang her final lament superbly.

Some of the visual arrangement was especially fine, thanks not only to the ranks of the tallish ladies and gentlemen of Japan but also the striking costumes and settings which, incidentally, were espcially well lit, though we were a little worried about the moon in the trees. Perhaps is was meant for the Irish dancing on Ko-Ko’s list.

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