Theatre Review: Hot Mikado - Landor Theatre, London ✭✭✭

Hot Mikado
Landor Theatre

The small space of The Landor was decorated with Chinese lanterns, a golden willow tree mural and two giant fans for tonight’s performance of Hot Mikado. Set as a radio broadcast, complete with ‘home-made’ sound effects, the microphones are then removed to transform the radio performers into the roles they are playing.

Inspired by Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta, ‘The Mikado’, David H. Bell and Rob Bowman wrote ‘Hot Mikado’ to be a far more sassy interpretation of the original with influences from afro-american jazz and soul. Tonight’s performance would have benefited from a horn section to give the band more depth and authenticity, however, the trio gave it their all with added characterisation.

The afro-american style of the score also requires vocalists to be particularly soulful and tonight’s cast were no disappointment. Cast members attack the jazzed up versions of Sullivan’s original score adopting the ‘scat’ style with vigour, despite it appearing out of the comfort zone for some. Singing in this style is clearly a talent of Pooh-Bah (Nathaniel Morrison) who executed his comedic role with ease and great effect. Another vocal performance that must be noted was ‘Alone and Yet Alive’ sang by Katisha (Mandi Symonds). It was sung with such heart-felt passion and blues that you could really sympathise with this vampy character.

The remaining principals and supporting roles had clearly thought about their characters and played them with necessary expression and manner. Ian Mowat’s interpretation of Ko-Ko was timeless and had the audience expressing a few smirks, whilst Victoria Varley portrayed Yum-Yum with the necessary naivety of a Gilbert and Sullivan lead soprano.

For an evening of light-hearted comedy, this is a production you should be popping/bopping along to!

You can catch ‘Hot Mikado’ at The Landor Theatre until Saturday 3rd November. 

3 stars out of 5 ✭✭✭

Review by Philippa Stubbs