St Andrews Gilbert and Sullivan Society with Mermaids Performing Arts return to the Festival Fringe with their typically entertaining style of presenting Gilbert & Sullivan, this time with their own take on T
Traditionally played by a large grandiose figure with a terrifying voice, all convention is thrown to the wind
Peter Sutton, based on previous performances, is inevitably cast as Ko-Ko. Cutting a dashing figure, he romps through this celebrated song. As always he relishes every moment on stage and his strong voice meets all the demands of the role. Never one to shy away from giving an exuberant performance, this one was somewhat excessive, even by his standards.
Peter Cushley portrays an appropriately forlorn Nanki-Poo but looks somewhat out of place in his red sleeveless jumper. The register of his songs sometimes doesn’t suit his voice which tended to be shaky, particularly in the upper register, but there’s sensitivity in his rendition of Willow Titwillow. Teddy Day takes on the many occupations of Pooh-Bah with yet another excessively eccentric interpretation, but enhances the singing throughout. Freddie Mack as Pish-Tush ably leads the men’s chorus in Our Great Mikado that was strong throughout, creating deeply rich harmonies. Will Hutton’s Mikado, were it to be more widely seen, would probably make the operetta’s history book. Traditionally played by a large grandiose figure with a terrifying voice, all convention is thrown to the wind as he enters looking rather like a young Julian Clary, giving a completely understated performance with an ironic twist on From Every Kind Of Man Obedience I Expect. The sequined jacket is eye-catching, but had he really been the Mikado I fear there might have been a coup.
Alice Gold’s Katisha on the other hand would have struck fear into the entire court. Aged only nineteen, her commanding presence and vivid costume quite rightly dominates large parts of Act 2. Her voice provides a classic treatment to those songs that require moments of rasping contralto. Caitlin McDonnell coyly plays Yum-Yum and her singing is a delight, as is that of Emilia Wright as Peep-Bo and Rachel Lawson as Pitti-Sing, making up the three little maids. The female chorus is well balanced with the men’s and alone sang in suitably sweet tones.
Laura Briody directed this fun performance around the venue’s notorious pillar, giving enjoyment to cast and audience alike, ably assisted by Rebecca Anderson the musical director, James Green the repetiteur, Libby Cavaye the technician and Hannah Ward the producer. As for the rest, well of course they’ll all be missed, but maybe some more than others. Perhaps next year just rein it in a little.