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BRINGING CHEEKY ENGLISH MUSIC HALL AND EXQUISITE JAPANESE TRADITION TO NEWCASTLE
Newcastle Theatre Royal
Wednesday 15th – Saturday 18th June 2016
A vibrant new production of one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s much-loved comic classics, The Mikado, presented by Scottish Opera and the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, is coming to Newcastle Theatre Royal.
Written in 1885 and set in the fictional Japanese town of Titipuin the 1880s, this ever-popular opera satirises British society, customs and pretentions through a farcical plot with gags aplenty.
The Mikado has decreed that those caught flirting should be sentenced to death. However, things take a complicated turn when his son Nanki-Poo falls for Yum-Yum, whose beauty has also caught the eye of Ko-Ko the Lord High Executioner.
Featuring many of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular songs, including ‘A wand'ring minstrel I’, ‘Three little maids from school are we’ and ‘I’ve got a little list’, The Mikado is perfect for those new to opera and offers a night of great entertainment for all the family.
Martin Lloyd-Evans (The Pirates of Penzance 2013 and Il trovatore 2015) makes a welcome return to Scottish Opera to direct The Mikado alongside a number of other familiar faces.
Gilbert and Sullivan stalwart Richard Suart adds new targets to Ko-Ko’s ‘little list’, Nicholas Sharratt sings the role of Nanki-Poo, Rebecca Bottone is Yum-Yum, and former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Sioned Gwen Davies is Pitti-Sing. Baritone Stephen Richardson plays the Mikado, comic genius Andrew Shore is Pooh-Bah and John Mather Charitable Trust Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Ben McAteer is Pish-Tush. Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark and D’Oyly Carte conductor David Steadman share duties in the pit.
Director Martin Lloyd-Evans said: “Make no mistake, The Mikado is as much about Japanas 'Yes, Minister'. Transposing his satire to an exotic, and at the time very popular culture, enabled Gilbert to cut all the more deeply into his target - the British ruling classes. Over-zealous policy-making heedless of the impact on the populace, the self-serving ambition of the entitled few - how little has changed since Victorian times.
“At the heart of all this satire, carried by Sullivan's musical brilliance, The Mikado aims to give the audience a great night out. We've tried to create a setting which not only gives voice to The Mikado's satirical edge, but also captures the unfettered fun and frolic of live Victorian theatre.”
This comical tale is brought to life with stunning costumes and eye-catching designs by Dick Bird, who last year won Best Design at the UK Theatre Awards for The Hudsucker Proxy, and whose recent work has included creating the sets of Kate Bush’s Before The Dawn shows and Les Pecheurs de Perles at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
He explains that he has been inspired as much by the Orientalism of the piece as by its roots in nineteenth century British Music Hall: “It’s no great revelation that Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado is a lot more about England and the English than it is about Japan.
“In a spirit that we feel is very close to the original, our production collides the great Victorian Music Hallwith high Japanese art. I hope we’ve found a new way to be irreverent and subversive with two cultures we truly admire and adore.”
The Mikado comes to Newcastle Theatre Royal from Wednesday 15th – Saturday 18th June. Tickets are from £16 and can be purchased at www.theatreroyal.co.uk or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge).