The Lowry, Salford

<i>The Mikado</i>
The Mikado
© Opera della Luna

Mad, silly and downright hilarious, but then again, would you expect anything less from a Gilbert and Sullivan opera? Especially when that opera is The Mikado.

It's hard to think that this opera is almost 130 years old and hasn't dated. It's been brought up to date, I won't deny, but it stays true to the original and loses nothing in the process.

The story is that Nanki-Poo, son of The Mikado has disguised himself as a wandering minstrel and is seeking his prior lover, Yum-Yum, who he previously could not marry as she was betrothed to the tailor Ko-Ko.

On learning that Ko-Ko was to be executed for flirting (the only crime which carries this punishment), he returns for his love. All is thwarted when Ko-Ko is unexpectedly given the role of lord high executioner and refuses to take his own life. As if Nanki-Poo's situation wasn't bad enough, his own fiancé Katisha, whom he fled the palace to escape, has managed to track him down.

Both the cast and the production are small, but the performance certainly loses nothing for it; indeed it all adds to the charm. It doesn't take long before you are transported along to Japan, tapping away in your seat, humming the tunes and desperately trying to stop the tune of "Three Little Maids from School" from going round your head.

Opera Della Luna have made the Mikado accessible, bonkers and laugh-out-loud Gilbert and Sullivan at its best.

- Geoff Hodge