The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 22, 2002


Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado opens in Carlisle Savoyard Light Opera Company

November 22, 23 at 8 p.m.
November 24 at 2 p.m.

Corey Auditorium

This past Saturday an enthusiastic Corey Auditorium audience cheered throughout the evening at the Savoyard Light Opera Company's (SLOC) current production of The Mikado. This comic opera is one of Gilbert and Sullivan's most popular creations. Commenting on the many aspects of SLOC's wonderful performance of The Mikado can be done only by using superlatives.

The energy of the performers, the choreography and the pacing of the action kept us on the edge of our seats. Credit for this momentum must be given to the experienced stage director Margot Law, who is making her debut with SLOC, and to music director, Fred Frabotta.

The Carlisle members of the Savoyards' The Mikado are (left to right) Nicolle Armistead, Phil Drew and Carolyn Armistead. (Photo by Lois d'Annunzio)

Kim Bolling, in the female lead role of Yum-Yum, played the part superbly, with an excellent, well-nuanced voice, fine diction, and a well-developed understanding of the Gilbert and Sullivan style. Tenor Timothy Carew as Nanki-Poo also sang well. Chris Snell as Ko-Ko, Benjamin Cole as Pish-Tush, and John Bennett as Pooh-Bah had the audience roaring with laughter, playing their pompous characters to perfection. Bob Russell's appearance as the Mikado, reminded us just a bit of Yul Brynner's role in The King and I. Laura Schall Gouillart's portrayal of Katisha convinced us all of the importance of being the "daughter-in-law elect" of the Mikado.

There were many delightful touches. From time to time words of songs and monologues were modified to reflect social or political issues of today, just as Gilbert and Sullivan had done in their day. The stage set was cleverly constructed so that while the basic structure was always a palace entrance and a view of Mount Fuji, the lighting and peripheral elements changed frequently to reflect the tone of the action of the moment.

The old Japanese costumes were excellent. Even the young woman who took our tickets was in costume. Makeup was based on the style used in Japanese Kabuki Theater and, in general, was quite effective in assisting the actors to enhance their facial expressions.

Carefully placed stage microphones allowed the actors to project their voices through the music provided by a full pit orchestra. Given the problematic acoustics of Corey Auditorium, this was an important enhancement to the performance.

The program, too, was one of the most interesting we have seen. It was well designed and added to the enjoyment of the performance. It provided the expected story line and listings of performers, musicians and musical numbers. In addition, there was a glossary of the many unusual terms found in the lyrics and an informative discussion about the Kabuki makeup.

The Mikado can be seen Friday and Saturday evening, November 22 and 23, and Sunday afternoon, November 24. If you and your children have not yet been to this production, it would be well worth your time to go.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito