Dale Friesen plays the lead role in The Mikado

Dale Friesen plays the lead role in The Mikado

Mikado makes merry musical

Yum Yum, there’s some arias in the air at Mary Winspear.

George Corwin promises “great music and great theatre” when the Victoria Gilbert and Sullivan Society brings The Mikado to the Charlie White Theatre.

“The story itself is, for want of a better word, crazy,” said Corwin, musical director for this production of The Mikado.

“In a sense it’s a typical topsy turvy world of Gilbert and Sullivan. All of their operas are poking fun at something, while it may seem at the surface that they’re poking fun at the Japanesse culture they’re not. They’re poking fun at the English.”

It’s the fourth opera Corwin’s worked on with the Victoria society. “I enjoy every minute of it,” he said.

“For the theatre goer who knows G and S, Mikado is a favourite. For the theatre goer who doesn’t know Mikado, they’re in for silliness, seriousness,” he added.

He figures the aria by Yum Yum in the second act is “worthy of Mozart”  and ensemble scenes at the end of the first act and the end of the opera are in a similar league.

“They’re full of colour and movement,” he said.

That said, an audience member who doesn’t laugh at some of the characters should go in search of a sense of humour.

In The Mikado, young Nanki-Poo, son of the Mikado, leaves the imperial court to escape an arranged marriage with an unpleasant older woman. Nanki-Poo, in disguise as a poor musician, meets and falls in love with Yum-Yum, but, alas, Yum-Yum is betrothed to the town executioner, Ko-Ko. Hilarity ensues as the characters try and one-up each other in search for the most logical solution to the problem.

“It’s full of just great music and great theatre,” Corwin said.

Inge Illman plays Yum-Yum, while Pitti-Sing is played by Jennifer Hoener (Corwin’s daughter) and Peep-Bo is portrayed by Stephanie Mile. Jennifer Lang plays Katisha, Dale Friesen holds the title role of The Mikado. Another Corwin offspring, Lucas Corwin, plays Ko-Ko while Scott Crinson portrays Nanki-Poo. Adrian Sly is Pooh-Bah and Colin Grewar is Pish-Tush.

“There are professional singers in the group, but there’s not a paid singer in the cast,” Corwin said. “They’re all volunteers, which might make you think they’re amateur. Amateur they’re not.”

Charlie White Theatre performances are March 19 and 26 at 8 p.m. and March 20 and 27 at 2 p.m. Call the box office at 250-656-0275 for ticket information.

Shows also runs at McPherson Playhouse on April 2 and 3. For further information, go to www.gilbertandsullivanvictoria.ca.

 

 

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