The Mikado

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Opened 30 January 2008, Closed 9 February 2008 at the Gielgud Theatre

The Carl Rosa Opera Company present the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Mikado in London starring Alistair McGowan and Nichola McAuliffe for 15 performances only.

Featuring the Oscar winning sets and costumes from Mike Leigh's film Topsy Turvy, this superb production transports us to the magnificent court of Titipu and the hilarious tale of love, corruption in local government, marriage, executions and heroics! Written in 1885 when Gilbert had the inspired idea of transplanting mid Victorian England in to the exotic background of oriental Japan, The Mikado has a cast of comic characters whose names themselves epitomise the very essence of G&S: Koko, Yum Yum, Nanki Poo, Katisha and, of course, the Mikado himself. With Sullivan also at his very best the score is a toe sparkling gem, speeding the story along with a host of toe tapping greats.

Carl Rosa Opera's new production of The Mikado is a historic re-creation of the original authorised Savoy production of 1885. Gilbert's authenticated prompt book has been the source for the direction, staging, and choreography. This production presents a faithful reproduction of the original stage settings, together with historic costumes designed by Wilhelm as seen in the 1953 film The Gilbert and Sullivan Story. Many drawings, photographs, designs, and research material have been unearthed for this ongoing project that has taken four years to co-ordinate.

The cast for The Mikado features Alistair McGowan as 'The Mikado', Nichola McAuliffe as 'Katisha', Fenton Gray as 'Ko-Ko', Andrew Rees' as 'Nanki-Poo', Charlotte Page as 'Yum-Yum', Bruce Graham as 'Pooh-Bah' and Sophie Louise Dann' as 'Pitti-Sing'. Directed and designed by Peter Mulloy with choreography by David Furnell, lighting by Mark Doubleday, costumes by Lindy Hemming and orchestra conducted by Martin Handley.

The Carl Rosa Opera Company's 2008 London Season at the Gielgud Theatre includes Iolanthe from 11 to 16 February 2008 and The Pirates of Penzance from 18 February to 1 March 2008.

"Peter Mulloy and company prove yet again that if you trust the arch English manner of Gilbert's dialogue, then the laughs you get will prove all the more genuine. Of course, there are the appropriate updates to Ko-Ko's 'little list' of potential executionees... Alistair McGowan's deliciously haughty Mikado gets a whole new set of topical lyrics for his blood-lusty 'A More Humane Mikado', and his 'daughter-in-law elect' - the intimidating Katisha - is devoured by Nichola McAuliffe. Sullivan's bountiful score is lovingly attended by a compact, agile band led by Martin Handley, whose tempi are as sharp as Ko-Ko's 'snickersnee'." The Independent

It's in Alistair McGowan's nudge'n'wink show that, perversely, Peter Mulloy's 'authentic' production gets closest to what G&S is all about. Yes, these pagodas and kimonos look beautiful. But, boy, they need pepping up: there isn't enough zing to the ensembles, not enough crackle to the wordplay... The result, notwithstanding some spirited playing from the band, too often feels like a pageant, a series of nods to G&S gesture rather than a faithful celebration of their total irreverence... And after an underwhelming entrance, Nichola McAuliffe's Katisha finds real pathos in this battleaxe's lonely plight; by the end, we're rooting for her." The Times

The Mikado in London at the Gielgud Theatre opened on 30 January 2008 and closed on 9 February 2008.

The Mikado - D'Oyly Carte Opera Company 2000 and 2002

Previewed 15 September 2000, Opened 21 September 2000, Closed 13 January 2001 at the Savoy Theatre
Previewed 25 June 2002, Opened 27 June 2002, Closed 14 September 2002 at the Savoy Theatre

The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company present the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Mikado in London starring Jasper Carrot.

Set against the exotic background of Japan this spectacular show recounts the absurd tale of the bizarre goings on in the mythical town of Titipu. Nanki-Poo, Koko, Pitti-Sing, Pish-Tush, Peep Bo, Katisha and The Mikado himself are all brought to life by a full cast of soloists, chorus and orchestra and the toe-tapping score is filled with unforgettable Gilbert and Sullivan musical gems.

Nominated in the 'Outstanding Musical Production' category at the 2001 Olivier Awards, this production - seen in the West End in 2000 - now returns for a strictly limited season.

The cast for the 2002 season features the comedian Jasper Carrot as 'Ko Ko' (not Thursday 11 July, Friday 26 July and Saturday 27 July) along with Joseph Shovelton, Gareth Jones, Royce Mills, Sandra Nakhosteen, Michelle Lokey-Smid, Susannah Self, Graham Stone, Jacqueline Varsey and Charlotte Page. Directed by Ian Judge, redirected by John La Bouchardiere with designs by Tim Goodchild, choreography by Lindsay Dolan, rechoreographed by Lyn Jolly and musical direction by John Owen Edwards.

The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company have presented a number of productions at the Savoy Theatre in the last couple of years: H.M.S. Pinafore (two months, Feb to April 2000), The Mikado (four months, Sept 2000 to Jan 2001), The Pirates of Penzance (two months, April to June 2001), Iolanthe (two months, Feb to April 2002) and Yeomen of the Guard (two months April to June 2002).

"In its time The Mikado has been swung, danced, blacked-up and sung in Japanese. Now it has been Carrotted. Quite what this means in a positive way is unclear at the moment. When nerves have died down maybe Jasper Carrott will get more of a grip on his part of Ko-Ko, boost the decibels and shape lines, business and music with some comic finesse. There is always hope. But last night it happened only in bits... He has the misfortune to feature in a D’Oyly Carte production sharp as nails, with several performances of high calibre... But don’t despair too much. He can only improve as the summer run continues." The Times (2002)

"The D'Oyly Carte company, in their newly liberalised and modernised incarnation, are back at the Savoy Theatre with a delightful production of The Mikado. The director, Ian Judge, and his designer Tim Goodchild have voted for an ambience which is one-quarter British and three-quarters Japanese: at one point the Houses of Parliament loom up in the background. But all the best traditions have been retained. Richard Suart is a classic Ko-Ko, Royce Mills a perfect, round-faced, resonant Pooh-Bah, Jacqueline Varsey a splendidly spirited Yum-yum; the melancholy madrigal Brightly dawns our wedding day, sung over teacups and sandwiches, is particularly affecting, and Nasty Nick and dotcom millionaires have been added to Ko-Ko's little list." The Sunday Telegraph

"This is D'Oyly Carte's first new production for three years and the company is at last confident enough to put some distance between itself and the creaking traditions of the old D'Oyly Carte, where every production seemed to follow the moves blocked out by Gilbert in his model theatre. Ian Judge directs a show which is better than halfway to the effervescent operetta that The Mikado really is... The marriage of Gilbert's disgust and Sullivan's jovial, self-effacing music packs the same hidden punch as ever... John Owen Edwards and his orchestra play it all with exactly the right mixture of zip and sentiment. Tim Goodchild's designs - funnier, more colourful and more sophisticated than you would expect - are complemented with some dramatic lighting by Wayne Dowdeswell. The chorus is tightly and expertly choreographed with remarkably few nervous moments for such a large, active number of singers. It's a slick evening with an emphasis on colour and wit: a fizzy tonic with a dash of bitters, and D'Oyly Carte back in its rightful place." The Times

"As someone who still prefers Van Morrison to Verdi - opera is a pleasure that I'm saving for old age - I am not the ideal candidate to review Gilbert and Sullivan. Apart from the poppy Broadway version of The Pirates of Penzance, I'm a stranger to G&S. Or so I thought. In fact most of the tunes in The Mikado (1885) were familiar even to me. I'd assumed that G&S was all tum-ti-tum-ti patter songs and was delighted by the wealth of gorgeous melody. Musical standards both on stage and in the pit struck me as exceptionally high, with none of the over-amplification that afflicts so many West End musicals. Best of all is the sheer wit and exuberance of Ian Judge's fresh-as-paint production, brilliantly designed by Tim Goodchild. Both have recognised the key point that, deep down, The Mikado concerns the British rather than the Japanese... There are winning performances all round... The whole show is a thoroughly English treat, and a welcome respite from heavy metal." The Daily Telegraph