Thanks to Geoff, Kerry and Val there are some backstage images on the archive page at this link – they were the only three who responded to my email request! On the archive page you’ll also find an electronic version of the programme, a cast list (where all is revealed!), the start to a comments section, and Kerry’s Ode. There’ll be some pictures of us on stage as soon as I get the video.
Principals, please note that I’ve updated your individual pages linked to Meet the stars!, which now have the image and copy used in the Mikado programme.
More to come, but do let me have your feedback on what’s already there, plus suggestions and materials (stories; images) for enhancing the website record of a great show that will live long in the memory.
Joy Campbell, our Chair, invites us to go back 200 years to 10 March 1818! It’s freezing cold, and in the grounds of Dunfermline Abbey workmen discover what could be the long lost grave of Robert the Bruce. To find out what happens next, come to Bones, Bogles, and Coronets, a new play by Diane Stewart, directed by Catherine Expósito, which will be premièred in the Abbey Church at 7.00pm on Saturday 10 March.
The play, which is part of the celebrations for the 200th Anniversary of the building of the Abbey Church of Dunfermline and the discovery of the remains of Robert the Bruce, includes a wide range of musical entertainment before the play itself, and a guest appearance by Barbara Dickson leading a chorus of “Scots wha hae”. Tickets are £15 (£10 concessions). Further details at this link.
It was a pleasure to see so many people at our production of Mikado – weren’t we glad that the show wasn’t a week later, given the post-Titipu weather! And our ladies were especially pleased to meet our youngest-ever audience member, Walter Turnbull, who came backstage during the matinée with his mother Claire, for whom his arrival earlier in the month had been her reason for not taking part this year!
You’ll have read what NODA thought of the show, and some of you have already given a reaction, but it’s always good to hear your reactions to what we are doing. Reviews, both bouquets and brickbats, are welcome, as is any other feedback – just email our webmaster.
Thank you to everyone who came to the show, and everyone who took part or helped in any way, but very special thanks to Rae for her energy and enthusiasm, for her commitment to making this a show to remember (if only for those b****y blocks!), for bringing along all those members of Cat-Like Tread to reduce the average age of those on stage, and for her inspired ‘tweak’ in casting Robin as Katisha and Susanne as Ko-Ko. Everyone enjoyed the show … even the traditionalists.
And hearty congratulations to our role-swapping pair who produced amazing performances. Apart from successfully overcoming the challenge of singing in a register different from the one Sir Arthur intended, they must have put in many hours learning a different set of really quite complicated lines. And they seemed so convincing: Robin was Katisha, and not Robin in drag; in wearing the George Grossmith trousers, Susanne added amazing energy and supple movement. Mikado will never seem the same again!
So that’s the last we’ll see of Titipu until the performers get the DVD that Dave took. If you came to the show, you’ll know how much fun it was for everyone: if you didn’t manage to get there, you’ll have to make do with a look at the web version of the programme. [File size limitations mean that images aren’t as sharp as we’d like, so there’s a higher-definition version of the content pages at this link.] Eventually there’ll also be material linked to our programme archive page.
In her introduction to the programme, our Director Rae Lamond said :“What I like to do with Gilbert & Sullivan is try to showcase the continued relevance of the satire inherent in Gilbert’s words by tuning them in to modern sensibilities. The time and the place are largely beside the point, the machinations of small town politics ring as true today as they did in 1885. Our Mikado remains respectful of the legacy of Gilbert & Sullivan – but there may be a tweak or two that you might not expect.”
One of those ‘tweaks’ was the casting of Robin Ożóg as Katisha and Susanne Horsburgh as Ko-Ko – the reverse of what the audience expected, until the blocks parted to reveal our choice of Lord High Executioner! This swap was deliberately kept secret, with no conventional cast list on website or programme, and our cast are to be congratulated on keeping mum. And it worked, as you’ll see from the NODA show report.
It’s not often that any of the audience members get to see the folk in this picture, other than the top half of our conductor! Seeing that The Mikado is all about a ‘second trombone’, Val thought it would be nice for you to have a picture of the guys and girls in black who were playing “so beautifully on the Marine Parade” all last week. Well done, everybody! And special thanks to Eddie for keeping them in order (at least most of the time!) and for bailing out both principals and chorus with unfailing accuracy and good humour.
Dorothy Johnstone attended our Saturday matinée and reported on behalf of NODA:
The Mikado is an operetta I know particularly well, so I thought I pretty much knew what to expect from this production. How wrong I was. The curtain rose to reveal the Gentlemen of Titipu in casual trousers, shirts and waistcoats wearing brightly-coloured bowler-type hats alongside the Ladies of Titipu in fluorescent wigs, black trousers or long skirts underneath a white open kimono-type dressing gown. Then the arrival of Nanki-Poo casually dressed with a black leather jacket and carrying a trombone, followed by three little maids in figure-hugging short black dresses which at times got lost against the black ramps and scaffolding which made up the set. No traditional colourful Japanese set or orange blossom. And not a fan in sight … I must confess that it took me a little time to get used to what I was seeing, but when I did I found the concept of this production quirky and intriguing. Rectangular boxes moved cleverly around the stage helped to create different playing levels, although at times this was a little distracting. Another twist was Ko-Ko being played by a female and Katisha played by a man.
Although this was certainly a very different, innovative production, the score and script remained true to the work of Gilbert and Sullivan. The standard of singing by both the chorus and principal characters was extremely high and maintained throughout. Yum-Yum (Lindsey Cotter), Pitti -Sing (Katy Williamson) and Peep-Bo (Sinead Black) blended well vocally. Nanki-Poo (Alex Gunn) had a most pleasing light tenor voice which contrasted well with the resounding bass voice of Pooh-Bah (George Alexander), Lord High Everything Else and Pish-Tush (Martin Tarr). The Mikado (Matthew Sielewicz), complete with top hat and short jacket, also gave a strong impressive performance.
There were certainly some high-standard characterisations in this production but, in my opinion, the Oscar-winning performance was Susanne Horsburgh’s Ko-Ko. Scurrying about the stage, swinging from scaffolding, and with brilliant comic timing, this really was a brilliant performance which kept the show moving along at a great pace. Robin Ozog’s Katisha, the only character in Japanese costume, was also a tour de force. “Alone and yet alive” was beautifully sung, and for me was one of the show’s highlights. These two characters interacted brilliantly. “Tit Willow” and “Beauty in the bellow of the blast” were both excellent. Act 2 has some gorgeous small ensemble numbers such as “The flowers that bloom in the Spring” and the Madrigal, and the harmonies in these numbers came through very well indeed.
This was undoubtedly a very different Mikado from any other I have ever seen or performed in and I have the greatest admiration for the director and the company for taking up the challenge of doing something totally different. I am sure there will be some who prefer to stick to tradition but, if the audience response was anything to go by, this was a most successful venture.
It was also a pleasure to present nine long service awards at the end of the production.