11th August 2007
Today was the memorabilia fair - Bruce and Barbara were involved in helping with one of the stalls - our good friends Alan and Romy arrived on the caravan site and also our pal Philip Walsh pitched his tent here for the night. In the evening we all went down to the Opera House to watch The Mikado.
The Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company
The operetta started with a sparkling overture conducted at a really brisk pace by John Owen Edwards. The tabs were lifted to reveal a good set - in the centre was a raised block about six feet high and about ten feet square. From this arching stairs ran down on each side leading towards the front of the stage - there was also a hidden staircase to the rear of the block. The gentlemen of Japan were on the stairs and the central block - they were dressed in grey and white traditional Japanese costumes of excellent quality. In the centre of the stage were five more - these were dressed in black costumes and were carrying out Kung-Fu like moves in time with the music as they sang along. The other Gentlemen were also doing the arm movements but were not as active as the front five. Nanki-Poo entered at the top of the block - he was dressed in a light coloured costume and was carrying a bag and a trombone case. At first he was ignored by the Gentlemen - but as his song became more patriotic they became more and more involved until some very complex moves were being carried out. Nanki-Poo was very tall and slim - he had an excellent singing voice and was a good actor. Pish-Tush was a very imposing character in his red costume - tall and elegant with a super baritone voice. He explained what had happened to Yum-Yum.
Pooh-Bah entered from the top of the blocks. He was very sneering - he was wearing a blue costume. He had a very good voice which projected really well. How he had fun as he got the money from Nanki-Poo in exchange for more information about Yum-Yum. The Gentlemen of Japan returned to herald the arrival of Ko-Ko - what a character. He was full of fun - he was wearing the traditional costume of a black top coat and green trousers with white stripes down them. He had white socks and black shoes. His hair was receding and the central section was tied up in a white roll. He was carrying a large axe which he waved about - much to the consternation of the Gentlemen who had to duck to get out of it's way. Ko-Ko was full of fun and his funny little quick stepping walk was great. His little list was very good with several modern references. Good interaction between Ko-Ko and Pooh-Bah as he asks about the arrangements for his wedding.
The girls came on - how pretty they all looked with their soft pastel shades of kimono. The movements, like those of the gentlemen before were slick and accurate. What good use they made of the different levels as they arranged themselves on the stage. The singing was strong and accurate. The three principal girls entered - these were very talented - especially Yum-Yum who was perfect for the part - she was petite and pretty with a wicked sense of humour. How well she reacted to all that was happening - what a beautiful, expressive face. Her voice was excellent as she soared, without any apparent effort, to some very high notes. An excellent "Three little maids...."
Good interaction with Ko-Ko and then with Pooh-Bah. A very moving scene with Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum as they realise that they can not marry but when he reveals he is the son of the Mikado she reacts very well.
The news that the Mikado is to visit throws Ko-Ko.\Pooh-Bah and Pish-Tush into turmoil - they have great fun trying to persuade first Pooh-Bah and then Ko-Ko to be executed to save the town being turned into a village. However the problem is solved as Ko-Ko persuades Nanki-Poo, who is about to commit suicide as he can not marry Yum-Yum, to be beheaded in a month - however Nanki-Poo insists on marrying Yum-Yum for that month.
Katisha enters just as the citizens are celebrating. What an evil character. She is not very tall but has good stage presence and her make up is very good. She is wearing a dark red kimono and a very large bushy wig. The citizens fight back as she threatens them and the movement of the chorus during Mia Sama is brilliant.
Act two opens - the set has been cunningly altered by swinging the central block, which was in act two smaller blocks, away from each other so that the blocks are now just off to the stage right and left and the two sets of stairs come down towards the centre - the tree which was front right in act one has now been moved to centre back stage. Yum-Yum is now in her wedding dress. How she preens herself and what a high opinion she has of her appearance. A lovely song "The sun, whose rays...." is delivered using two cages with birds in them to represent the sun and moon - one coloured a warm orange - the other a blue colour. An excellent madrigal is followed by some real comic moments as Ko-Ko informs them that if Nanki-Poo is executed then Yum-Yum, as his wife, will have to be buried alive! How Ko-Ko enjoys telling them this.
The lights go out and in the dark we can see some movement - when they come up again the chorus is in position around the stairs and block and the Mikado and Katisha are standing on the two sets of stairs. How well the chorus react - such sharp movements and everyone in time with each other. The Mikado is very impressive with a yellow/gold costume and a large headdress. He had a great deep voice and is full of mischief and threat at the same time. He flirts with one of the girls and delivers an excellent song "a more humane Mikado.."
Good interaction as the Mikado is told about the "execution" but he has not come about that - he wants to find his son - suddenly Katisha lets out a scream - they have executed Nanki-Poo. Good interaction as the Mikado tells them about their punishment.
Koko's only solution is to marry Katisha - He sings a delightful "Tit-Willow" - most moving. How Katisha's attitude towards him changes.
A colourful finale brought an exciting production to a dramatic close.
After the show we went to the club for the cabaret which was performed by the professional chorus from tonight's production.
Iestyn Morris concluded an excellent cabaret with his now "traditional" performance of "Delilah", which as usual brought the house down!