Opera della Luna at the Civic
What would Gilbert have thought ? Not only was Koko's little list updated to include aromatherapy and offensive radio, but the Mikado's fitting punishments were extended to financiers and graffiti artists.
Opera della Luna bring their musical magic to the Mikado this season, with a packed Civic attracted by the prospect of a bright, breezy staging of a favourite G&S.
A fine, experienced cast ensured we were not disappointed. Simon Butteriss, the finest Koko of his generation and a natural successor to Grossmith and Green, relished the freedom afforded him by his bondage trousers and his Gaultier kilt, giving an entrancing performance that was spot-on musically.
David Woloszko made a mighty Pooh-Bah, and Luna favourite Tim Walton was a likeable lover. The Three Little Maids included newcomer Emma Odell as a grotesque Katisha and the charming Yankee Yum-Yum of Pamela Hay. Ian Belsey was an imposing Mikado, as well as a dim Northern shop steward.
Stage Director Jeff Clarke also conducted the witty reduction from the keyboard. There were many excellent ideas: the Madrigal, the exhausting Trio, the Act One finale. The opening number in the sweat-shop was inspired.
Fashion was key to the concept here. And whereas previous Luna tours [orbits?] have gleefully embraced their limitations, here, beneath Gabriella Csanyi- Wills' admittedly gorgeous frocks, there was a just a very accomplished traditional Mikado, with one or two outrageous additions to liven up the libretto, which, in 1885, couldn't even name the devil ...