THE timelessness of the relationships of the characters in the classic 1885 Gilbert and Sullivan comic operetta The Mikado has seen it adapted many times in different styles to make amusing comment on events in countries around the world.
The most popular of these versions has been Hot Mikado, which set the story in the 1940s and made it a fast-paced musical comedy, with the American adaptation team, David H. Bell (book and lyrics) and Rob Bowman (orchestrations and arrangements), using a wide range of styles, including jazz, hot gospel, blues, rock, swing and torch songs.
First staged in 1986, it has been an audience-pleaser globally.
Amber Lewis, who appeared in a Maitland Musical Society Hot Mikado production in 2004, then directed a production of The Mikado in 2012 for the company, and is now associated with Newcastle’s Young People’s Theatre, put forward Hot Mikado as a show that could be staged by YPT in association with Lindsay Street Players, a company formed by older people who had their start in theatre with YPT.
Hot Mikado will have eight shows at the YPT Theatre, in Lindsay Street, Hamilton, between February 8 and 23.
Amber Lewis, the director of Hot Mikado, notes that it has the same plotline and much the same dialogue, although it has been modernised. And most of the story is told through song, with bits of dialogue here and there.
Hot Mikado has the same plotline and much the same dialogue, but it has been modernised.
The songs include Three Little Maids, which has Yum-Yum (Jordan Warner), who is being wooed by a man she does not like, singing with her two sisters, Peep-Bo (Bronte Horswood) and Pitti-Sing (Zoe Shaw), about their backgrounds in a very lively Andrews Sisters style.
And the man who terrifies Yum Yum, her guardian Ko-Ko (Hugo Hay) who is determined to marry her and has recently been appointed the land’s Lord High Executioner, reveals in his song I've Got a Little List, the types of people, mainly those who oppose him, that he’d like to dispose of.
The country’s ruler, the Mikado (Thomas Traynor), a cool cat who believes that the punishment should always fit the crime, comes searching for his son, Nanki-Poo (played by a female, Kaylia Roberson), who has fled the royal palace because he is concerned that an older woman at the court, Katisha (Shanaya Budden), is determined to see that he marries her. Nanki-Poo pretends to be a trumpet player, and, while working with a band, is attracted to Yum-Yum and enters into a very unusual agreement so that he can spend a month with her.
Jordan Warner says that Yum-Yum adopts the facade of a sweet young girl so that people won’t realise what she wants and what she will do to get it.
She says that Nanki-Poo actually does have to play a trumpet at some points in the story.
The tale is set in a jazz bar, with the six-member band at centre-stage, the singers interacting with the band, and the band members sometimes responding. And, as Warner points out, the song Lord High Executioner has a Frank Sinatra feel.
Amber Lewis also points to Thomas Traynor having to do a lot of tap-dancing as the Mikado tries to show how superior he is. The show’s musical directors are Freya Meredith and Brent Hanson, and the choreographer Chelsea Willis.
Hot Mikado has performances on Friday and Saturday at 7pm from February 8 to 23, plus 2pm Saturday matinees on February 16 and 23, and a 2pm Sunday matinee on February 17. Yum-Yum will be played by Jasmine Phipps on Saturday, February 16 at 7pm, and on Saturday, February 23, at 2pm.
Tickets: $20 ($25 on opening night; includes pre-show refreshments); email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 4961 4895 on Saturday between 9am and 1pm.
NIGELLA Lawson has had a remarkable career as a food writer, producing 11 books that have sold 10million copies worldwide, appearing on television cooking shows in Britain, the United States and Australia, on occasions being a judge of competitions on such cooking programs, and, in recent years, touring to community theatres in various countries, where she talks to audiences about cooking and answers the queries they put to her about food.
She begins a short tour to 11 New Zealand and Australia venues on January 22, with a session at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre on Friday, February 1, at 7.30pm. The event, An Evening With Nigella Lawson, is interactive and intimate, and will have her sharing her thoughts, food stories, and insights into what she is cooking and eating now.
She has noted that having the opportunity to meet readers of her books and watchers of her television shows makes her cooking experiences and book writing come truly alive.
The current tours began in 2018, which marked the 20th anniversary of the publication of her first cookbook, How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food.
Her engaging, conversational writing style, along with a relaxed approach to cooking, inspired a new generation of home cooks.
In 1999, she hosted her cooking show series, Nigella Bites, on a British television network.
She went on to develop a cookwear range.
Ironically, she became involved in writing about cooking in news media when, as a young journalist for a magazine, she was asked in 1985 to become a restaurant critic.
Tickets for An Evening With Nigella Lawson at the Civic are $90.75 to $111.15.
Bookings: 4929 1977.