8 November 2015
Out of a prior age
The Mikado is another visit for us to the Canberra/Queanbeyan musical theatre scene. As before, I'm most impressed. This time, I could hear all the players (I'm told everyone was miked) and there were some great performances if against a very bland backdrop. I'm not of the class of English-heritage baby-boomers who are nostalgic for D'Oyly Carte and it's very out of time these days, so it's not particularly a favourite of mine. The caricature of the Japanese might be thought distasteful these days and the plot sexist and the central act of beheading is too agonisingly current to even be questioned as tasteless. But they were different days and it shows. I asked about known songs before the show and Megan and Sally both remembered "three little girls from school are we / we come from a ladies' seminary", but the second act had a string of tunes even I recognised: The flowers that bloom in the spring and several others that I can't recall from titles in the program. Perhaps my favourite was a lovely vocal quartet called a madrigal, but in the program as Brightly dawns our wedding day. The four unaccompanied voices worked wonderfully together and the harmonies were clear and sweet. We enjoyed the song of list of local criminals (featuring a string of currently controversial names) and another sung by the Mikado himself about suitable punishments (including a mention of Andrew Barr for Light rail). You get the picture. Megan tells me rewording these songs is a tradition: another English public-school mannerism, I guess. The Ko-Ko (Lord High Executioner of Titipu) was played by Matt Greenwood and he stole the show for me, although there were very capable Mikados and Nanki-Poos and Yum-Yums and Pish-Tushs and Pooh-Bahs and various girls and men and ladies. But it's all very silly (which it's clearly supposed to be) and not really my thing. But then, I lack the relevant heritage. Once again, well done to the Queanbeyan Players.
The Mikado was presented by the Queanbeyan Players at TheQ theatre.