HumDrum at The Spring, Havant
I have always admired Sullivan’s music for its robust inventiveness and in The Mikado his sometimes cumbersome wit is at its most sparkling. In James George’s enjoyable production, these qualities are exploited to the full.
The staging and costuming are simple, with no cod Japanesery getting in the way of the fun.
Above all, the production is very well sung. These are musical theatre rather than operatic voices but the songs are delivered with clarity and confidence. You can hear every word of the fast patter songs - especially gratifying in the comic re-writes of Ko-Ko’s ‘little list’ and the Mikado’s punishments to ‘fit the crime’. The male ensemble is particularly strong and, from everyone, the big set pieces crack along with a light touch and a tremendous pace.
There are some excellent performances. Matthew Cooper and Lara Hardwick invest Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum with winning charm while Darren Gilmore is a wonderfully louche Ko-Ko. Gemma Valler is a withering Peep-Bo and James George revels in Pooh-Bah’s absurd self-importance.
In the audience there were clearly people who had never seen a Gilbert and Sullivan before. If you are among them, or already a fan, you will find this show a treat.