2019 Hot Mikado

Rob Bowman

David H.Bell

'The Mikado' by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan

Here are a selection of photos from the show, thanks to our photographer Andy Carter from "Photos with Style" for taking photos at the dress rehearsal and to Charlotte Thompson for the Promotional and Rehearsal photos.

Spring 2019

Hot Mikado takes the classic Gilbert and Sullivan tale and updates it to 1940s-style. Young Nanki-Poo, the Mikado’s son masquerading as a Second Trumpet player, arrives in the town of Titipu looking for the beautiful Yum-Yum. After bribing various officials he learns that she is still going to be marrying a former tailor turned Lord High executioner, Koko. Meanwhile, the Mikado demands that Ko-Ko execute one person within the next month. Nanki-Poo agrees to be executed as long as he can spend a month as Yum-Yum’s husband. However, the plan goes awry when the Mikado makes a surprise visit to Titipu and brings with him Katisha, an older woman who is pursuing Nanki-Poo. Fortunately, even though Nanki-Poo's execution had been publicly announced, it has not actually been carried out. Further, Ko-Ko and Katisha fall in love so Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum can stay married.


The Mikado - Dillip Patel
Ko-Ko - Stephen Chalkley
Nanki-Poo - Jacob Botha
Yum-Yum - Danielle Kerley
Pooh-Bah - Keith Robertshaw
Pish-Tush - Toby James
Pitti-Sing - Lian Finne
Peep-Bo - Sarah Farley
Katisha - Rachael Yelland

Citizens of Titippu
Catherine Ash, Helen Ash, Melanie Beggs, Anthony Black, Katz Dent, Mike Ellis, Sophie Featherstone,, Simon Ferrier, Chris Haslett, John Hayman-Joyce, Matt Howes, Jill Howlett, Paul Hyde, Steve Leitch, Jess McShee, Julie Parker, Jane Platts, Charlie Qureshi, Rick Thompsett, Monica Turnbull, Imogen Wallis, Emma Walker, Alan Wilkins, Karen Wilson, Sandra Zeffman


John Harries-Rees

Chris Evans


Jon Fox

In 1961 copyright ceased for the Gilbert & Sullivan operas which, in my opinion, has greatly helped to ensure their survival. What the author and composer would have felt about such distinctly 21st century style shows as Hot Mikado we can only speculate upon. In fact, Hot Mikado goes way back into the 20th century, but is so modern, so vital and energetic that it could have been born today. An Anglo-American mine of joy!

In the prodigious and artistically brilliant hands of director John Harries-Rees, ELOC had a sure fire hit from the moment he accepted their invitation to direct. I have had the great pleasure to review many of John's productions and have long run out of sufficient adjectives to properly describe my admiration for his work. From its sizzling opening number to the rousing Act 2 Finale I was entranced; a child once again taken to his first magical stage production! What Joy!

Making his ELOC debut as Musical Director was the marvellous Chris Evans who has graced endless shows whilst on stage. Assisted very ably indeed by the experienced David Edwards, Chris, together with his six person but nine instrumental band, gave us professional standard music throughout. To describe this production as "amateur" is as laughably silly as it is - technically only - accurate. Ah, the absurdity of labels!

A splendid cast full of top quality performers shone like beacons as they radiated their talents and skills. The Wandering Minstrel AKA Nanki-Poo, played with authority by Jacob Botha, who used his melodious tenor voice to great effect, set a standard for all the other principals following him. The beautiful melodic singing voice of Danielle Kerley thrilled us all as Yum-Yum, playing opposite Jacob and matching his great charisma throughout. Lian Finne was a top performer giving Pitti-sing a vibrant cheekiness and playing this important role with nuanced skill. Sarah Farley gave the down to earth Peep-Bo a distinct character all her own, pointing her all too few spoken lines with aplomb!

And so to the jazzy , cool cat Mikado himself in the considerable presence of Dilip Patel, resplendent in a black and white diamond patterned waistcoat and dressed to the nines. Just when you think a show simply cannot get any better still, it did. Another scintillating performance to watch in awe!

Toby James as Pish-Tush sang his tricky patter song skilfully and gave depth to this interesting noble. The oh so English Pooh-Bah (Lord High Everything Else) sneered and patronised supremely well and Keith Robertshaw playing him gave us a rare treat. In the pivotal role of Ko-Ko, we had a performance par excellence. The Grossmith parts are known for requiring clarity of diction more than beautiful vocal tone, but Stephen Chalkley had all the stage skills in abundance and did everything supremely well, singing, acting, pathos, comedy, stage presence. A performance of awe!

Ko-Ko's nemesis, whom he is forced to woo, was no less than the most redoubtable battle axe character in the G&S repertoire. Rachael Yelland was truly something else as Katisha. She could - and did - wring the emotions of the audience from loathing her to pitying her and Rachel had the best song in the show in "Alone and yet Alive". To my mind this was the single most outstanding highlight in a show filled with highlights. Goosebump time indeed!

So many humorous and innovative moments were sprinkled like stardust on this production. The Laurel and Hardy touch by Ko-Ko and Pooh-Bah; "call me Fido" (Pooh-Bah); the stunningly effective company freeze after Katisha's entrance; bird song SFX in Yum-Yum's solo; Yum-Yum being dressed in silhouette scene were just a very few examples of how a visionary director can elevate any show.

The dancing throughout was magical! Dawn, the choreographer, set a standard I have rarely seen attempted, let alone carried out so thrillingly. Wonderful, colourful, sexy even, costumes from Triple C, co-ordinated beautifully by Dawn and by Sandra Zeffman, aided by excellent make up from an in house team.

Lighting was top notch under designer Simon Banks and operator Dominic Lawrence. Stuart Vaughan with Jacky Cook on sound did sterling work too. Stage manager Sarah Wood and DSM Richard Pike did their work unobtrusively and the continuity in this production was of professional standard.

This was to all intents and purposes a professional show staged by an "amateur" company. I have seen a number of Hot Mikados over many years. This was, by a distance, the very best and anyone who did not leave the theatre in wonder and awe at what they had just witnessed should be banned by law from entering any theatre ever again. ELOC, I salute you all!


ELOC Proudly Presents Hot Mikado

Here's a quick look at all the fun you can expect...