Gibert and Sullivan Opera Victoria are presenting the second production of the season, the unquestionably witty The Mikado. Set in Japan, The Mikado follows the story of Nanki-Poo after fleeing the court to avoid his arranged marriage. He arrives in the town of Titipu searching for Yum-Yum, who is already engaged to Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner.
When the Mikado demands a quota execution, Ko-Ko cannot bring himself to kill anyone. Nanki-Poo declares his undying love for Yum-Yum and plans to end it all. An idea comes about to get them what they both want, but everything is turned on its head when the arrival of the spurned Katisha. The intricate web unravels and nothing is as it seems.
Seasoned performer and long time member of GSOV, Director Andrew McGrail has enjoyed the challenge of bringing what was on paper and in his head to life.
“I have never had to be so intensely creative before…It was quite a new thing to me to actually have to find my concept and vision for the show, and then describe it to others.” He said.
His creativity has led to the inclusion of a prequel which begins in 1884/1885 when writers Gilbert and Sullivan began writing the piece.
“We have added a short prequel to show the dynamic at the time between The Mikado writers, Gilbert and Sullivan, and the theatrical impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte. This sets the scene for how my interpretation of The Mikado is played out.” Said McGrail.
Sofia Laursen Habel, who plays the role of Yum Yum believes the prequel will add an unexpected angle to the production.
“The show then takes form from there, creating the illusion of the show being created during the actual production, thereby avoiding stereotypical Japanese connotations for most of the show…
“The show is directed as if it is being written concurrently with the show being produced, the show essentially acts as the first dress rehearsal of The Mikado in 1885.” She said.
For McGrail and his cast it was about stripping back the show and bringing into the modern day.
“We have peeled back many of the stereotypical elements that have crept into the show over the decades to reveal the inner core more clearly – a comedy lampooning British Institutions, and a story of genuine human interest.” He said.
When creating her character of Yum Yum, Habel used the script and her characters intentions to create a fresh take.
“I then went through each line and movement, analysed and wrote down the intention for each one, which gave me a whole new insight into Yum-Yum and her relationship with the other characters. I really wanted to bring her into the 21st century, so a few of my artistic decisions have been based on modernising her within the context of a G and S show.” She said.
According to McGrail, at its roots The Mikado is a show that can be adapted to today’s culture and modern world.
“The Mikado is a theatre piece that deserves to be performed, and can be performed in the context of current societal expectations.” McGrail said.
“Everything works out in the end with a little bit of love and understanding. Considering the hate and violence we are subject to every day through various sources around the world, I think the impact of love and understanding should never be underestimated as a healing effect”, said Habel.
The Mikado runs from July 19th – 22nd at the Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre, corner of Bell Street & St. Georges Road, Preston.
Thursday 19th July 8pm
Friday 20th July 8pm
Saturday 21st July 2pm
Saturday 21st July 8pm
Sunday 22nd July 2pm
Adult $43 Concession $37 Student $28 Child, 16 & under $22
Family of 3, max 1 adult $78
Family of 4, max 2 adults $117
Group of 10+ $35
Companion Cards accepted.
Box Office: 8470 8282