Printable CopyTHE MIKADO
Northern Light Theatre Company
Shedley Theatre
Until 26 Oct 2019

Review by Doug Phillips

NLTC’s Mikado starts off really promising. The pre-show set looks fantastic and gives the audience hope of things to come. Next, we hear the orchestra kick off with the overture, and things seem a little less promising.

To be fair, the orchestra sounded perfectly tight to me. They just felt a little lacklustre. As if perhaps they were short on musos. The program however reveals an eleven-piece orchestra in the pit, so I can’t work out why the sound felt so weak. Like I say however, they did sound perfect, just lacking something.

Performances from the ensemble had a similar feel. Everyone looked the part, and had the moves and lyrics down, but it felt like we were getting seventy percent of what they might be capable of.

It was a treat to see Benjamin Fleming in the role of Nanki-Poo. I haven’t seen Ben perform for many years, and I was super impressed to see how far he has come with his stage presence and vocal ability. I think he’s still got even more promise to show.

Ko-Ko, played by Paul Briske, is the stand-out feature of this production. Playing the role for the second time, Briske nails the character well and is a delight to watch. Dione Baker in the role of Yum-Yum exhibits beautiful vocal tones and skill, combined with great comedic timing.

Special mention should be made of Nathan Quadrio, who not only directed the show, but also stepped into the role of Pooh-Bah two weeks before opening night. His performance was amusing and solid, if not a little overly-fabulous.

At first, the harmonies went unnoticed. But once we could hear them, they were quite good. The set was also lovely, but very static. It would have been great to see the great craftmanship exhibited in other sets and scenes.

The 21st century references were a gamble. Sometimes the gamble paid off, sometimes not. Same with the breaking of the fourth wall.

If you love comedy musicals, you can’t go wrong with NLTC’s The Mikado. It is Gilbert & Sullivan after all. Once everyone involved digs a little deeper and finds just that little bit more they can produce, I suspect their season will be very well received.