The Mikado was performed at Round Hill School in Beeston between Tuesday 26th October and Saturday 30th October 2004.
This was our first show after the destruction of the Duchess Theatre. We had moved to Round Hill Primary School in Beeston so the decision was made to put on a less complex and easier to manage show (because we were in a new environment – one that wasn’t purpose built as a theatre – and the move away from Long Eaton would potentially affect our audience).
One of our members, Rob Corner, was brought in to Direct the show, after he had successfully Directed Brigadoon for another society. His first decision was to change the setting of the show.
For those of you who are not familiar with this show, it is by far the most famous of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas. It was first produced on the 14th March 1885 at the Savoy Theatre, London and later (6th July 1885) at the Museum, Chicago. Not without reason this one of the most popular of the long line of ‘Savoy Operas’, for Gilbert’s text is a masterpiece of comic writing which Sullivan’s ever tuneful music is perfectly adapted, serving in a remarkable manner to convey the amusing character of the words.Originally written set in Japan during the latter part of the 19th century, the Japanese characters were nothing more than thinly veiled caricatures of ourselves. For BMTG’s performance of The Mikado, the setting was adapted to the mid-western (Chicago) post prohibition (1935) America. Set in a nightclub, ‘The Oriental’, during the period the characters, although staying loyal to the original names, are now seen as Gangsters, Molls, Dancers and Nightclub patrons. Based on a crime family of the period the ‘Godfather/boss of Bosses’ – ‘The Mikado’, through his son a ‘Cugine’ – ‘Nanki-Poo’ to the ‘three Maids’ played by the dancers at the club, added additional weight to the original script, without detracting from the fine score.
Worries about the move from Long Eaton to Beeston were soon found to be unfounded as the show sold incredibly well, with superb reviews from audience and the press alike.
The Story of The Mikado
Opening on March 14th 1885, The Mikado, or Town Of Titipu, quickly established itself as the foremost example of musical theatre. Its initial run lasted a staggering 672 performances – unheard of in its day – and, at the end of 1885 an estimated 150 companies were producing the operetta across Europe and America.
In a small number of productions, Gilbert used foreign locales in an attempt to soften the impact of his somewhat ‘pointed’ satire. However, as a reviewer noted following an early review of the operetta ‘though nominally Japanese, the allusions in The Mikado are more or less thinly-veiled references to the native institutions and peculiarities of Great Britain’. This is a trend noted by many people in every G&S production and perhaps a contributory factor in the shows’ endearment to the hearts of the audiences.
The story follows a short period in the life of a domineering Nanki-Poo, the son of The Mikado, who, in order to escape marriage to a lady, Katisha, flees his father’s firm and masquerades as a travelling minstrel.
It is there that he falls in love with a beautiful showgirl, Yum-Yum, who is the ward of Koko, at that time a cheap tailor. However, Yum-Yum is betrothed to her ward and the young man leaves in despair.The operetta starts one year later when Nanki-Poo returns to town to find only a small number of changes. The most important being that Ko-Ko has now been awarded the exultant rank of Lord High Executioner and his imminent marriage to Yum-Yum.
Meanwhile, the Mikado decrees that an execution is to take place and hands the task on to Koko, who is somewhat preoccupied in the planning of his forthcoming marriage.
Nanki-Poo approaches Koko and makes him aware of his intention to end his own life in desperation of Yum-Yum’s unavailability. It is then that Koko comes up with his master plan.Koko consents to the marriage of Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum on the condition that Nanki-Poo be beheaded after one month. However, Koko proves to be too soft-hearted to carry out the execution and instead, with the help of two conspirators Poo-Bah and Pish-Tush, sign an affidavit stating the death of Nanki-Poo.
The Mikado, on seeing this, condemns the hapless three to death. Only the appearance of young Nanki-Poo can secure their safety…
If You Want To Know Who We Are (Chorus)
A Wande’ring Minstrel, I (Naki-Poo)
Our Great Mikado, Virtuous Man (Pish-Tush)
Young Man Despair (Pooh-Bah)
Behold The Lord High Executioner! (Ko-Ko, Male Chorus)
As Some Day It May Happen (Little List) (Ko-Ko, Male Chorus)
Comes A Train of Little Ladies (Yum-Yum, Pitti-Sing, Peep-Bo,
Three Little Maids From School Are We (Yum-Yum, Petti-Sing, Peep-Bo)
So Please You, Sir, We Much Regret (Yum-Yum, Pitti-Sing, Peep-Bo,
Pooh-Bah, Pish-Tush, Waitresses)
Were You Not To Ko-Ko Plighted (Nanki-Poo, Yum-Yum)
I Am So Proud (Cheap and Chippy Chopper) (Ko-Ko, Pooh-Bah,
With Aspect Stern and Gloomy Stride (Chorus)
Braid The Raven Hair (Pitti-Sing and Chorus of Girls)
The Sun. Whose Rays are All Ablaze (Yum-Yum)
Brightly Dawns Our Wedding Day (Yum-Yum, Pitti-Sing, Nanki-Poo and Pish-Tush)
Here’s A How-de Do! If I Marry You (Yum-Yum, Nanki-Poo and Ko-Ko)
A More Humane Mikado (Mikado and Chorus)
The Criminal Cried As He Dropped Him Down (Pitti-Sing, Ko-Ko, Pooh-Bah and Chorus)
The Flowers That Bloom In The Spring (Nanki-Poo and Ko-Ko, with Yum-Yum, Pitti-Sing and Pooh-Bah)
Alone, And Yet Alive (Katisha)
The Willow (Ko-Ko)
There is Beauty in the Bellow of the Blast (Katisha and Ko-Ko)
For He’s Gone and Married Yum-Yum (Chorus)
The Cast & Crew
Ko-Ko – John Maddison
Yum-Yum – Cheryl Mills
Nanki-Poo – Colin Richmond
Pooh-Bah – Louis Ogando
Pish-Tush – Paul Mills
Pitti-Sing – Carrie-Anne Corner
Peep-Bo – Alison Lawrence
Katisha – Carolyn Smith
The Mikado – David Heard
Anthea Hinchliffe, Carl Jackson, David Artiss, Dorothy Woodall,
Edward Evans, Erica Coleman, James McGraw, Jane Cottee,
Jane Hough, John Carley, Lisa Green-Smith, Mark Marks,
Michael Gillie, Mollie Harword, Oriel Dudson, Philippa Dean,
Rachel Sunley, Roma Drinkwater, Ruth Maddison
Jennie Ashworth, Kathryn McAuley, Mina Machin, Val Sutton
Bass – Jess Widdowson
Clarinet – Sharon Cardwell
Conductor – Lisa Mills
Flute – Claire Husselbee
Keyboard – Chris Flint
Oboe – Christine Glenville
Percussion – Graham Sykes
Trumpet – Danny Ortiz, Graham Cardwell
The Production Team
Director – Rob Corner
Wardrobe – Anthea Hinchliffe
Make-up – Anthea Hinchliffe
Prompt – Lisa Mills
Front of House – Tony Sutton
Bar Manager – Nicola Ireland
Bar Staff – Alison Christie, Katie Solomon
Call Boy – Andrew Maddison
Call Girl – Rachel Maddison
Props – Lyndsey Kenyon
Lighting – Margaret Beedham
Musical Director – Lisa Mills
Choreographer – Lisa Mills
Production Manager – Stuart Veitch
Set Design – Celia Birch
Set Construction – Mike Cottee, David Hinchliffe
Stage Manager – Colin Cort
Sound – Andy Onion
Lighting – Mike Beedham
Stage Crew – David Hinchliffe & Connections