I took my Grandson, Max, to the King Of Prussia Players presentation of THE MIKADO. It was his first G & S and I have included some of his comments along with mine.
This MIKADO was exceptionally well sung. Max (and I) were especially impressed with Terry D’Andrea’s Katisha. She was an imposing and strong Daughter-in-law Elect. D’Andrea sang and acted the part professionally. Clementine Harvey was a beautiful and sweet Yum-Yum. Her voice blended well with Kurt Anderson’s Nanki-Poo. Anderson has just right voice for the part. Catherine Ard was perfect in the role of Pitti-Sing. Laura Clattenburg wrung all the laughter possible out of her lines as Peep-Bo.
Tom Blair sang well as Pish-Tush and created a consistent character. I was sorry to see that he had very little opportunity to show what a super dancer he is. Peter Hayes as Ko-Ko and Gary Carl as Pooh-Bah showed their mastery of diction in the trio with Pish-Tush “I Am So Proud”. Max (and I) agreed that they were deserving of their encore.
The Mikado in this production was the ever proficient Clark Van Hekken. He was having so much fun that it spilled over into the audience. His dance was the typical G & S style and was in tune with his performance.
Max said he was impressed with the harmonies in several of the numbers. I was particularly pleased with the quartet “Brightly Dawns Our Wedding Day”. It was clever of Director Charla Bendas to have it sung with no distracting movements. It was a lovely piece of singing.
The 22 piece orchestra under the baton of Music Director Alan Pallar provided the exact accompaniment at just the right level to support not overwhelm the singers. Well done!
The initial effect of the set was super. Later I wished it provided more places for the action to take place. The costumes were gorgeous and the women’s wigs were exactly right.
We enjoyed the production immensely. I have only one quibble with it and with G & S productions in general. The director of a 130 year old masterpiece has to make a hard decision. Do we do it as W. S. Gilbert directed it to be done? Or do we do it modern style? If we rewrite the lyrics to “I’ve Got A Little List” then should we not redo the lyrics to The Mikado’s “My Object All Sublime”, which has far more obscure references which only dyed in the wool G & S fans understand? If we do the Mikado’s and Pooh-Bah’s makeup as traditional Japanese; and make Pish-Tush a bearded grandee, how can we not do something with Ko-Ko and Nanki-Poo that is also in the same frame? And do we dare to change the obsolete references in the original dialogue? But that is splitting hairs. Bendas directed this show with sure and inventive staging.
Max and I think you would love this if you like well sung and beautiful to look at operetta.
Music and lyrics by Arthur Sullivan and W. S. Gilbert
Directed by Charla Bendas
King of Prussia Players
at Shannondell Performing Arts Theater
10000 Shannondell Boulevard
Audubon, Pennsylvania 19403