The Hot Mikado

Never before have I seen G&S performed so well; too often is it synonymous with G&T, churned out rambunctiously by red-faced socialites clustered around a piano. Yet like the operetta, which has been reinvented more times than Madonna, this production is quirky and dynamic in its new jazz incarnation.With such character names as Ko-Ko (Lord High Executioner), Pooh-Bah (Lord High Everything Else) and Nanki-Poo (heir to the Mikado), it's probably safe to say that an un-PC piece like this wouldn't be so well received today. Luckily the work makes light of British (and, more pertinently in this variation, American) politics, and the aforementioned roles are the most charismatic and well executed. Alex Wingfield combines a lovely tenor voice with a natural sexiness to be a satisfying male lead.The male harmonies in the opening numbers are especially pleasing and set an impressively high standard that continues to rise as the show progresses. ‘Three Little Maids’ is the first stonker, heralding the explosive arrival of Yum-Yum (Hannah Howie) and her gal-pals. The singing continues to take priority, ne'er a flat note to be heard. The overall highlight comes early in the second act: ‘Madrigal, 'Brightly Dawns Our Wedding Day'’, a predominantly unaccompanied song that’s simply stunning, a real jaw-dropper.Two individuals outstrip their talented peers: Sarah Hollinshead's Katisha is a great belting contralto, lending a deeply soulful personal quality to her solos; Pitti-Sing (Adele Pope), the gob-smackingly amazing mezzo, sings with great ornamentation.“Finale Act II” with the 'joy reigns everywhere' motif was the fantastic culmination of mounting achievement, a great ending.Maddy Mutch's choreography, not to mention her direction, is a triumph – the movement is adept and well-suited to the ensemble, never looking boring or repetitive. Special mention must go to Peep-Bo (Daisy Newlyn), the most effortlessly talented dancer I've seen so far at the Fringe.Whether a G&S aficionado or complete virgin, you can’t go wrong with this production.

Reviews by Fen Greatley

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The Blurb

An updated swing interpretation of the Gilbert and Sullivan classic. Suitable for all and set to a live jazz band, this inventively staged production promises to be a whirlwind hour of hilarity and pure entertainment.

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