Epsom Light Opera Company

award winning theatre at the Epsom Playhouse

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2006 Spring Hot Mikado

Music adapted and arranged by Rob Bowman
Book and Lyrics adapted by David H Bell
Based on 'The Mikado' by W.S. Gilbert and
Sir Arthur Sullivan

At the Epsom Playhouse
Spring 2006

Producer - Del Harman
Music Director - Andy Sutton
Choreographer - Dawn

Cast List

The Mikado - Ian Lambert
Nanki-Poo - James Turnbull
Yum-Yum - Abigail Williams
Katisha - Charlie Hoddell
Ko-Ko - Cory Wordlaw
Pooh-Bah - Dilip Patel
Pish-Tush - Michael Zeffman
Pitti-Sing - Sarah Higginbotham
Peep-Bo - Emily Evans
The Mikado's Chauffeur - Paul Kettle

Chorus

Catherine Ash, Nic Ash, Heather Congdon, Gemma Davies, David Don, Jenny Eaton, Christine Evans, Dick Grenyer, Wendy Halls, Chris Haslett, Anne Kemp, Kristie Murray, Felicity North, Eleanor Palmer, Kate Palmer,
Helen Parker, Kate Rendall, Chris Rumbold, Linda Sutch, Monica Wallis, Harry Wilkinson, Emma Williams

Gospel Singers

Wendy Halls, Paul Kettle, Jackie Shearer, Sandra Zeffman

Show photos - click here

Review by Tony Flook - Surrey Mirror

This was, unmistakably, Gilbert and Sullivan – but not as we know it. ELOC's production, directed by Del Harman, fully deserved the epithet 'Hot'. The style was set from the first when Andy Sutton and his orchestra launched into a swinging, brass and percussion driven overture in which it took just a short time to identify some of the operetta's best known numbers. Here and throughout, the entire team breathed life into a show which can, at times, be treated with a little too much reverence.

James Turnbull, Nanki-Poo, explained his profession as A Wandring Minstrel, I, to the backing of a perfectly harmonised crooning male chorus. He not only sang this and all his other numbers with flair but also showed lightness on his feet when tapping along with the sure-stepping dancers.

Enter Cory Wardlaw – a scene stealing Ko-Ko with undeniable stage presence and a touch of pantomime style about him. He sang and moved with ease. His camp interpretation was, though, surprising given his supposed lust for Yum-Yum. His late scene with Katisha (Charlie Hoddell, in a beautifully characterised performance), which included his Tit Willow and her Beauty in the Bellow was a gem.

If Katisha was a study in ugliness, Abigail Williams's Yum-Yum was everything the wide-eyed 'heroine' should be. Together with Emily Evans and Sarah Higginbotham as her bosom buddies Peep-Bo and Pitti-Sing she tackled Three Little Maids in best Andrews Sisters style.The Sun and I, one of the few pieces not to be given a substantial make-over was sung clearly and with feeling. Sarah Higginbotham stepped forward to lead For He's Gonna Marry Yum-Yum in full-blooded soul style.

Despite proclaiming I Am so Proud Dilip Patel could have shown more pomposity as Pooh-Bah.

Ian Lambert, made up as a comic-book cartoon character, revelled in describing how he planned to Make the Punishment Fit the Crime and the way he intended to dispose of Ko-Ko and the others who had, supposedly, executed Nanki-Poo, his son.

Although there were some excellent individual performances this was, at heart, a meticulously rehearsed team effort. The ensemble not only sang faultlessly and moved as one but, true to the spirit of the production, showed enjoyment throughout.

It was an inspired idea to place the musicians at the back of the built out stage. This not only helped movement, to Dawn's choreography but also brought the action nearer the audience without the barrier of an orchestra pit.

Here was colour, fun, brashness – total entertainment. I'd like to think that the original writers would have enjoyed it as much as the audience did.

Letter from the Musical Director

My fellow citizens of Titipu,

As the leader of the Titipu Small Band may I congratulate you on a great show last week. I was so proud of the way you performed with conviction and coped with the difficulties of having the band and MD behind you. Some of you might think this was a real progress with the next stage to turn off the monitor! Seriously though, moving the monitor to a level you could see was essential and made it possible to perform with a high degree of ensemble. No matter how loud the Drums might crash there is nothing more essential than knowing where the beat is. I would like to thank the theatre staff for making this adjustment and urge you to use the facility in the future.

My congratulations go to the principals who gave convincing performances consistently through the week. There were some huge ranges in the songs, some demanding harmony not to mention tongue-twisting lyrics. There were some highly expressive performances with Sun and I and the Madrigal as well as some great jazz and gospel singing.

I received many comments about the great harmony singing. It was difficult for us to hear this at the back of the stage but if you sang like you did at most warm up sessions it must have been fantastic. I would like to thank you all for your hard work and dedication and congratulate you all.

It was great to work with Del and Dawn. Del is always inspirational and we get on well despite the banter. He is a real Gentleman if not of Japan and he treats me with the contempt that a part time Minstrel deserves. I enjoyed working with Dawn who made much of my work on the dance numbers so easy. Sorry dancers if it got faster at times. Tempo is a funny thing and I am sure that we reached rehearsal speed at times!

There is no doubt in my mind that this show would not have been the musical success it was without one person. Although not listed in the programme, Cyn was my assistant MD and worked tirelessly with the principals as I was only booked part time. I decided early on that she was essential to have in the band for this show, as the piano part was so integral to the whole ensemble. Cyn was a delight to work with and a significant help to the cast as well as me, indeed there were many times when individuals cut out the middleman and went straight to her. She did not have an easy week either, stuck behind a curtain, unable to hear the cast and with an electronic machine masquerading as a piano with a part time pedal. I am extremely grateful to her for seeing it through, thank you Cyn.

I wish you all every success for MaMG and for the future. I am sure that Nick will find a slant on the show (perhaps setting it in Russia?) and I leave you in the capable hands of Mr Steel. Brian plays a mean accordion, (ask him) I am sure it can be worked in!

Good luck and best wishes,

Andrew


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