Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society are set to present one of the best loved of all Gilbert and Sullivan’s Savoy Operas, THE MIKADO at the Theatre Royal Bath from Tuesday 5 March to Saturday 9 March. Gilbert’s libretto for The Mikado is a masterpiece of comic writing to which Sullivan’s ever-tuneful music is perfectly adapted. The sparkling score speeds the humorous story along with a host of classic songs including Three Little Maids, A Wand’ring Minstrel I, Tit Willow and Brightly Dawns Our Wedding Day.
Set in the magnificent court of Titipu, this hilarious tale of love, marriage, executions, corruption in local government and heroics, brings to life some of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most colourful and popular characters. By setting the opera in Japan, an exotic locale far away from Britain, Gilbert was able to satirise British politics and institutions more freely by disguising them as Japanese.
Nanki-Poo, the son of the Mikado, has disguised himself as a wand’ring minstrel in order to escape the clutches of the elderly Katisha. In the course of his wanderings he meets and falls in love with the beautiful Yum-Yum, but unfortunately she is betrothed to Ko-Ko, her guardian, the Lord High Executioner. Ko-Ko is urgently in need of a victim willing to lose their head before the Mikado abolishes the city. But who is it going to be? What will happen when the Mikado and the jilted Katisha turn up? Hold on to your boaters, bowler hats or, in the case of Pooh-Bah, many hats, and prepare to be launched into the crazy satirical world of The Mikado.
Now more than 100 years old, Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society’s (BODS) illustrious history includes many acclaimed performances of the work of Gilbert and Sullivan. Other recent much praised productions by BODS include The Wizard of Oz, Guys and Dolls, and the NODA award-winning Snoopy, winner of Best Musical Production.
BODS’s staging of The Mikado is presented by a 27-strong company of local talent, aged between 20 to 60 years, who have been in rehearsal for this production since last November. The cast hail from Bath, Bradford on Avon, Chippenham, Melksham and Bristol.
The cast includes Huw Morgan as the Mikado; Oli Hounsell as Nanki-Poo, the Mikado’s son; Richard Luscombe as Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner; Juliette Coad as Katisha; Nick Lee as Pooh-Bah; Ashley Bremner as Pish-Tush; Rose Lambert as Yum-Yum; Sophie Smith as Pitti-Sing and Lindsay Orchard as Peep-Bo.
Directed by Tristan Carter and choreographed by Annette Wilsher, this production of The Mikado is set in 19th century Japan with some humorous references to England and modern technology. The show will feature a professional orchestra conducted by musical director Peter Blackwood, who has directed music for nearly 200 theatre productions. His credits include the acclaimed community play, The Day That War Broke Out In Bristol, performed at Temple Meads. He has also worked extensively with BODS, most recently, as Musical Director for The Gondoliers, Jesus Christ Superstar, Oliver!, The Pirates of Penzance, Annie and The Wizard of Oz.
Established in 1894, and originally called Bath Amateurs, Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society first produced The Mikado in 1897; just 12 years after the comic opera’s premiere at the Savoy Theatre in London. BODS have performed this highly popular show 11 times in their 119 year history, the last time being in 2003. Recent BODS productions at the Theatre Royal Bath include The Pirates of Penzance in 2008; Oliver! in 2009, for which BODS won the regional National Operatic and Dramatic Association Award for excellence; The Gondoliers in 2010; Guys and Dolls in 2011, and The Wizard of Oz in 2012.
BODS continue to encourage young and aspiring actors to take part, including performing arts students from Bath Spa University. Two performers from BODS 2009 production of Oliver! went on to play Dodger in the West End version of the show, whilst another young BODS member played the role of Frederich alongside Connie Fisher in the UK tour of The Sound of Music.
BODS present The Mikado at the Theatre Royal Bath from Tuesday 5 March to Saturday 9 March. Tickets priced from £12 – £29.50 are on sale at the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or online at www.theatreroyal.org.uk