Fareham Musical Society is back at Ferneham Hall this week with the mightiest of the Gilbert & Sullivan oeuvre – The Mikado.
The piece certainly looks good, but vocally it’s a mixed bag with the men (generally) outsinging the women. Strongest among those women is Mary-Rose Finden as Katisha; some lovely character-touches in her acting, too.
Stuart Frank makes an attractive Nanki-Poo and certainly has the range but, that said, his ubiquitous vibrato needs reining in. The equally attractive Yum-Yum, Sarah Tully, has excellent clarity but tends to be a bit under-powered. Opening night saw the amateur’s worst nightmare with original Pitti-Sing being replaced by understudy Lucy Ann Revis. Revis, however, took the opportunity and gave it her all. An inventive Pooh-Bah from Lewis Wilmott, but top marks go to show-stealing Jonathan Redwood, whose Ko-Ko was possessed on occasion, it seems, by the spirit of Kenneth Williams. Lovely work.
The major criticism lies in the technical aspects of the show. It really is over-engineered with choreography where it’s just not needed (let the Act II Madrigal sing itself) and choreography that simply lacks imagination. Some tighter direction and some cast attention to the lyrics might also be beneficial.