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July 4th - July 8th
Following the phenomenon which was Matthew Bourne’s all-male Swan Lake, another thrilling all-male version of a much-loved classic… Sasha Regan returns with one of the most popular G&S operas, following her hugely successful all-male production The Pirates of Penzance – winner of Best Off West End Production at The What’s On Stage awards, and recently returned from a tour of Australia, including a run at Cate Blanchett’s Sydney Theatre.
Gilbert and Sullivan at the height of their creative genius, take us to the far away land of Titipu, where their penchant for poking fun at British Institutions combined with their inherent humour and timeless tunefulness make for, arguably, the most popular opera ever written, including “A Wand’ring Minstrel I”, ”Three Little Maids”, “Willow Tit Willow” and “Some Day it Might Happen” aka The List!
★★★★ “The humour is infectious… The talent across the entire company is staggering… and the results are joyous.” Theatre Bath
★★★★ “This is as imaginative, clever, witty and unstuffy a production of Gilbert and Sullivan as you are likely to find.” Stage Talk Magazine
“The cast is altogether excellent a show full of hi-jinks and jollity – if you enjoyed the previous Sasha Regan productions you’ll love this one too.” Bath Listomania
“The cast sounds fantastic … a marvelous take on an old classic.” Bath Chronicle
“beautifully-produced, highly entertaining, wholly eccentric versions of Very British Theatre at its very, very best… deliciously convivial feast of creativity on many levels.” Bath Magazine
“outstanding male soprano performance from Alan Richardson as Yum-Yum” Bristol Post
Price includes a £1 contribution to our heritage fund.
Exactly one year ago, Malvern was host to the much-loved and highly-acclaimed all-male production of H.M.S. Pinafore which allowed 16 strapping lads to carry out all of the roles - male and female - in their take on the famous Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera. And this week, 16 more fellas play the roles of not just males and females but Japanese ones at that - for Sasha Regan has spun her magic again, this time on The Mikado, a show which, when presented to Queen Victoria, elicited the comment that "the story is rather silly". Which, of course, it is, especially given the names of some of the characters - Nanki-Poo, Ko-Ko, Pooh Bah, Pish-Tush, Peep-Bo, Yum-Yum etc and the basic premise of the story which is that when flirting was considered a capital offence by the Mikado, Ko-Ko, a prisoner condemned to death for doing just that, was himself elevated to the post of Lord High Executioner.
And so this comic tale of love between the wandering minstrel Nanki-Poo, who is not quite as he seems, and Yum-Yum , daughter of the Mikado and kind of already betrothed to Ko-Ko, unravels with a web of deceit and lies to arrive at its conclusion which also sees the surprise coupling of another pair of brilliantly comic characters involving the large-hatted Katisha, who originally had eyes for Nanki-Poo. Confused? Don't worry - all is revealed in this very funny comic caper set around a campsite and staged to the piano accompaniment of musical director Richard Baker.
The main female characters (none dressed in particularly feminine clothing but there was never any confusion as to which were male and which were female) and especially Yum-Yum and her two friends sang their songs with appropriately and convincingly high voices and the section at the start of act 2 where the bride-to-be was getting ready for the big event was particularly hilarious and well received, with small additions like the painful waxing of legs (probably not in the original script!) causing much laughter.
If you don’t know your Mikado from your Pinafore, then this is an excellent introduction to the comedy and famous songs of G&S shows (most famously "Three little maids from school are we" and "Willow tit willow" in this show). And if you are already an aficionado, the Sasha Regan's talented troupe will demonstrate how a show can be given a complete makeover whilst still retaining all of the elements of the original.
After these two summer shows, maybe it's appropriate to mark July 2018 in your diary…