mikadoMetro Theatre
THE MIKADO by Gilbert & Sullivan

Dates and Venue 5 April - 3 May 2014, | Metro Theatre, 1370 Southwest Marine Drive

Reviewer Ed Farolan

This has been so far the best production of The Mikado that I've seen in years. Under the direction of Alison Schamberger, the acting and singing was superb, the musical direction under Spencer Bach was fabulous, and the choreography by Dawn Ewen was marvelous. Add to this the simple but beautifully Japanese scene design of Brian Ball and Dwayne Campbell, the lighting design of Les Erskine, and the pretty period costumes of Val Palosaari.

This comic opera in two acts written by the famous collaborators W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan was adapted to fit the contemporary Canadian scene, with political references to Rob Ford and Justin Trudeau. It has all the typical features of its genre: a pair of seemingly star-crossed lovers (Laura Luongo and Thomas Lamont) who triumph in the end; a powerful leader, the Mikado (Eric Biskupski) who takes delight in seeing his irrational laws carried out; an older lady (Cathy Wilmot), both disappointed and vengeful; and a collection of sidekicks, all supported by a chorus of lovely schoolgirls (Keara Barnes, Kaylene Chan, Cho Wang and Jennifer Carr-Zingle) and nutty noblemen (Joseph Byrtus, Bon Dos Remedios, Richard Hobson, Jesse Inocalla, Scott McGrath, and Attila Mityok).

The actors that stood out, in my opinion, were Cathy Wilmot and Russell Cripps, from the cheers of the audience in last Sunday's matinee performance. I also liked Thomas Lamont's crystal-clear operatic voice. It was a 2.5 hour show but the audience loved every minute of it. The pacing was good and the orchestra (Stewart Yu, Andrea Minden, Geoff Claridge, Nattie Chan, Jason Ford and Alison Dalton) was great.

Kudos to Metro Theare for another successful mise-en-scene!

© 2014 Ed Farolan