Theatre Review: The Mikado - Tabard Theatre, Chiswick ✭✭✭✭✭

The Mikado
Tabard Theatre, Chiswick

Review by Claire Spence

Friday 22nd February: What a fabulous show! Pulling Focus’ production of The Mikado is entertaining, comical and delightfully sung. The stellar, youthful-looking cast of eight sing and play their roles beautifully and I would love to see this production again!!! This most famous Gilbert and Sullivan operetta tells the tale of love, corruption, marriage and heroics with the popular characters: the two lovers Yum-Yum (enchanting soprano Emily Davies) and Nanki-Poo (the dedicated Michael Risely) who sing the duet This is What I’ll Never Do beautifully; the executioner Ko-Ko (the debonair Ed Norwood), the multi-functional Pooh-Ba (the entertaining Andrew Pugsley) and of course the menacing Mikado (a terrific entrance and performance by Stiofan O’Doherty whose basso profondo voice belies his appearance).

Matthew Johnson directs a gem of a show with memories of Katisha’s entrance (performed spectacularly by Suzanna Kempner) and the Act Two opener Braid the Golden Hair leaving me chuckling all the way home. The mention of ‘horse’, ‘burgers’, ‘footballers’ and ‘wags’ in The None of Them be Missed sang by Ko-Ko (Norwood) soon makes me realise the lyrics are not the original penned by Gilbert & Sullivan!!! And Musical Director Jerome van den Berghe’s alternative is a hilarious modern interpretation at times lifting the roof off the whole house.

Christopher Hone’s design is magnificent and it seems no expense is spared. Set in the clubhouse lounge of the Royal Japan (pronounced Yapan) Golf Club & Spa, the mixture of golf chic (checked carpets) and Japanese elegance (delicately decorated sliding doors) is fantastic. The walls are decorated with the club logo, a golf club and flag crossed like a coat of arms, and these are also emblazoned on the costumes - look out for the ‘blinged’ version on Katisha’s (Kempner) polo shirt! I love the panache of the golf attire and wonder if I’d look out of place wearing a solitary leather glove on a Friday night in Oval.

The house is full to the rafters and next time I visit The Tabard Theatre I’ll put my coat down before anything else, because the unallocated seating in this popular local venue means if you’re not quick you’ll be squashed in the benches, à la nosebleed seats, at the top of the racked seating. And unfortunately I ending up sitting behind the tallest man in the house! But what I did see of the show was magnificent! The theatre has a separate entrance to the pub, which is convenient as you don’t have to battle through punters to reach it. What isn’t so convenient is that you do have to battle through the punters to use the ‘facilities’ in the pub as there are none in the theatre. Plus the programmes didn’t arrive until the interval so apologies if the song titles are not correct! But these are minor factors. Long may this theatre produce wonderful productions! Miss The Mikado and miss out.

5 stars ✭✭✭✭✭

The Mikado plays at The Tabard Theatre
Wednesday 20 February to Sunday 17 March 2013.
Tuesday – Saturday @ 7:30 pm. 
Saturday @ 4pm
Sunday @ 2:30pm
No performances on Mondays.
Tickets are priced £19 (£17 concessions, £15 children)

Book online at or 0208 995 6035
Tabard Theatre, 2 Bath Road, London W4 1LW
Tube: Turnham Green (Next door to theatre). Buses: 27, 94, 267, 337, 391, E3, H91