Volume 91, Issue 59

Wednesday, January 14, 1998



Classic plot played out at Talbot Theatre

©Andrea Kury/ Gazette Staff

"EVERYBODY WAS KUNG-FOO FIGHTING..." Although these guys ain't as fast as lightning, their performances are guaranteed to be a knock-out. The Mikado opens at Talbot Theatre tomorrow night.

By Mark Lewandowski

Gazette Staff

Often the casual entertainment seeker will only partake in events of great commercial magnitude, while the less advertised remains unnoticed. Do not let Theatre Western and The Gilbert and Sullivan Society's presentation of The Mikado pass you by in the wake of recent commercial blockbusters.

Much classical theatre loses some relevance over time – but not the timeless operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan. Written in Victorian times, The Mikado is very adaptable to modern satire and politics, while engaging in standard Gilbert and Sullivan melange including large casts, very colourful costumes and original orchestral accompaniment. The play provides the perfect mix for any thespian or music lover.

A semi-pro cast of Western music students and community players are featured in The Mikado, under the experienced direction of Frances Toll. The light satirical comedy comes to life at Theatre Western's standard venue, Talbot Theatre.

"It's important to have fun up there," Toll claims while offering her valuable time in the midst of a late dress rehearsal and adds, "the audience can tell if (the actors) are having fun."

The light satirical frolic opens with the beautiful, young Yum Yum (Kira Stuckey) unhappily engaged to the stoutly town executioner, Ko Ko (Brian George). Nanki Poo, the story's brave young hero (played admirably by Western voice ingenue David Curry), is in love with Yum Yum and will do anything to get her. The executioner learns of this illicit love but has a problem of his own, as he must execute someone within the month. In a classic satirical twist, Ko Ko allows Nanki Poo to marry Yum Yum for a month – but then gets to kill him in the end. You can come see the suspenseful conclusion of The Mikado on your own.

The annual Theatre Western "January classic" is funded by the University Students' Council, however, Toll still sees the need for increased donations.

"[The USC] holds the purse strings quite tightly – but I guess you have to," he says, adding however, that "everything seems to be getting cut these days."

This is a fact of life in this day and age, but it should not hurt Theatre Western's presentation, which is very self-sufficient. The production has a self-contained, on-running budget and employs most of its members on a volunteer basis. Other notable aspects of the performance include great costuming from The Costume House and local talent including musical director Rob Culham, set designer Eric Bunnell and media contact Vanda Ferraro.

For all theatre lovers or those looking for a place to take that special someone, student tickets can be purchased at the InfoSource for $11, while Jan. 20 is seven-dollar "student cheap night."

The Mikado runs Jan. 15-17 and 20-24 nightly at 8 p.m. and Jan. 18 and 24 at 2 p.m.. Tickets are also available at the Grand Theatre and by calling 672-8800 (General Public $15 and $13 for groups over 15).

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1998