Whilst waiting for Hot Mikado at the Landor Theatre to start, I wondered if new life could be breathed in to what is already an updated version of The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan set in the 1940s. I need not have worried, as Robert McWhir’s production is extremely clever as we find ourselves at a live radio studio recording. Think Hancock’s Half Hour but with the addition of toe-tapping music, infectious dance routines and witty dialogue.
Hot Mikado is essentially a musical comedy with a silly and convoluted storyline that allows for light hearted fun which the cast works hard to bring to life. The opening numbers with the male ensemble give the show a cracking start. Their energy extends to the rest of the cast and this proves to be one of the production’s successes.
Of the principals, Mark Daley as Nanki-Poo shines as he truly embodies the lovesick son of The Mikado. His love interest is Yum-Yum, played sweetly by Victoria Farley. Her performance of "The Sun and I" in the second act is a highlight as is "Braid The Raven Hair" with a touching solo by Piers Bate as Pish-Tush who is also a nifty tap dancer. Nathaniel Morrison has great fun as Pooh-Bah and has a strong voice, as does Lucyelle Cliffe as Pitti-Sing.
Robbie O’Reilly’s choreography gives the musical numbers an authentic 1940’s feel, and under the musical direction of Michael Webborn they are mostly enjoyable. Some of the numbers could do with being tightened up but the cast’s commitment to keeping the fun element top of the agenda more than makes up for any rogue moves.