Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Hot Mikado"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England’s LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2006 by Carl A. Rossi


based on “The Mikado” by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan
book and lyrics adapted by David H. Bell
musical concepts and arrangements by Rob Bowman
directed by Richard Repetta
musical direction by Tim Evans
choreography by Michael Hogman

The Mikado of Japan … Brandon Grimes
Nanki-Poo, his Son, disguised as a minstrel and in love with Yum-Yum … John Raftery
Ko-Ko, Lord High Executioner of Titipu … Artie Leger
Pooh-Bah, Lord High Everything Else … David Ieong
Pish-Tush, a Noble Lord … Alex Paquet-Whall
Yum-Yum, a Ward of Ko-Ko … Lauren Sprague
Pitti-Sing, sister to Yum-Yum and Ward of Ko-Ko … Kristin McEntee
Peep-Bo, sister to Yum-Yum and Ward of Ko-Ko … Rena Pemper-Rodriguez
Katisha, an elderly Lady, in love with Nanki-Poo … Rydia Q. Vielehr

Nobles and Ladies:

Bruce F. Blaisdell; Jenny Bragdon; David Chin; Jeff Ferraro; Daraiha Greene; Karen Ieong; Joel Light; Sparkle


Piano … Tim Evans
Bass … John Styklunas
Percussion … Len Simboski
Reeds … Scott Runyon
Trumpet … John Chen

There is one weekend left at the Footlight Club with its HOT MIKADO and I recommend that you grab any remaining tickets (the house was packed on the night I attended, and the waves of applause were rafter-ringing). Those who cannot stand Gilbert & Sullivan --- and those who do --- will delight in this swing (and swinging) version of the masters’ most popular comic opera and what is equally delightful is how much of it adapts so well to the be-bop/boogie-woogie era, accented with contemporary touches. (There was a “Swing Mikado” and a “Hot Mikado” in the 1930s, the latter starring Bill “Bojangles” Robinson as the Emperor of Japan --- could this be the same version?)

If Richard Repetta’s sole directorial command was to have fun, that was direction enough and it is good to see his ensemble biting into such tuneful, older fare and relishing the taste, the standouts being Lauren Sprague’s cute-as-a-toy Yum-Yum, Artie Leger’s Ko-Ko, bouncing about like a helium balloon, and David Ieong’s suave Pooh-Bah. Said fun proves so infectious that it is easy to overlook the occasional sour note from the orchestra, the wooden chorus member or two, or a solo voice too green and imitative. In short, I had a grinning good time at HOT MIKADO and so will you --- if you can get to a phone, of course.

The Footlight Club’s next season includes THE FULL MONTY and VAMPIRE LESBIANS OF SODOM & SLEEPING BEAUTY OR COMA; after being transported with its HOT MIKADO, I can safely say that America’s Oldest Community Theatre is clearly up to its own challenges.

"Hot Mikado" (2 - 17 June)
7A Eliot Street, JAMAICA PLAIN, MA
1 (617) 524-3200

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England’s LIVE Theater Guide