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The first impression when entering the theatre was the magnificent side panels on the stage – beautifully designed and painted to create a wonderfully evocative setting for the production. Then the tabs opened and the backcloth echoed the look and feel of the side panels, which was excellent. The use of the static set was good, and it was enhanced by a good lighting plot, and lots of good props. The miniature waterfall was utterly charming, and added so much to a very imaginative set. The two panels used at the start of Act 2 to depict the sun and moon worked really well.
Then we got the mix of modern and traditional costumes, which merged seamlessly and neither seemed at all out of place. Lovely wigs for the ladies.
I liked the different nuances that Pen Robinson had utilised to make this a slightly
quirky production with lots of humour, which I enjoyed immensely, and Dan Cowtan
had pulled out the stops again with the musical side of the production, with a few
more orchestra members that certainly bulked the sound out, and gave us a very nicely
rounded musical accompaniment to some very well-
Andrew Whelan in his first outing with HHTC, gave us a well sung Nanki Poo. Andrew has a nicely placed voice that coped well with the music. I liked his interaction with Yum Yum, but occasionally needed a little more angst from him to give his character more dimension. But I think Andrew is a good addition to our musical scene, and hope to see him in many more productions.
James Penniston is always a favourite of mine – he has a wonderful stage presence,
and does not let his character slip at all. James has matured into a good performer
and the part of Pish Tush suited him well. I should also mention his voice, which
again is well-
Terry Casserley gave us a diverse Pooh-
I thoroughly enjoyed Marlon Gill’s take on Ko Ko – a part he sang extremely well,
and I appreciated his excellent diction throughout. There were some very funny moments,
in what I thought was a well-
Corinne Hart was a charming Yum Yum, she has an effortless voice, that just seemed to soar to the high notes, and I really liked her characterisation and relationship with Nanki Poo. I thought she was lovely.
I loved the other two ‘maids’ in the trio – Pippa Taylor was Pitti Sing, the younger
naive and bubbly one – with Mariam Gaballa-
Sue Reynolds was an evil Katisha – who finally succumbed to the rather dubious charms
of Ko Ko -
The final principal was Nick Heritage as the Mikado – beautiful make-
So, I think you could say I really liked this production, visually, sensually and vocally, everything fitted well, there was humour, beautiful harmonies, good characterisations and enthusiasm which drew the audience in.
Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company
“THE MIKADO” review date: 26th April 2013
Director: Pen Robinson MD: Dan Cowtan