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Posts Tagged ‘Nathanial Morrison’

The Landor Theatre continues its roll with this revival of the American updating of one of Gilbert & Sullivan’s most poplar operettas. It’s a pretty bonkers idea really, but in this production it works, largely because the stage is teeming with talent, energy and enthusiasm that just sweeps you away.

The only previous production I’ve seen was the Watermill actor-musician touring version at Kingston three years ago – I blogged at the time that I found it pointless and it left me cold (https://garethjames.wordpress.com/2009/09/27/hot-mikado) so Robert McWhir’s production has really turned me around. He’s staged it as a 30’s(ish) US radio show, though in the second half this is more in the background. The story is intact, it’s still set in Japan, but the dialogue is modern and the music is adapted to a range of contemporary styles like swing and be-bop.

Robbie O’Reilly’s choreography makes good use of the small space and Richard Lambert’s lighting turns a simple design into something elegant and period perfect. The musical standards are what make this production shine, though. Michael Webborn has a trio rather than a big band but they know how to swing. There are some excellent vocals in both choruses and solos. Mark Daley and Victoria Farley are lovely as romantic leads Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum, Nathanial Morrison is an excellent Poo-Bah (chief high everything) and Ian Mowatt provided much of the comedy as Ko-Ko the hapless executioner. Piers Bate, who impressed me as Leo Bloom at Arts Ed earlier in the year (https://garethjames.wordpress.com/1012/01/30/the-producers) stood out in the smaller roles. It is an exceptional ensemble who sing and dance their hearts out.

You’re unlikely to see a better production and you have two more weeks to find out why!

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This isn’t exactly culture, but after plays about dysfunctional relationships, broken Britain, grief & sectarian conflict and an opera set in Auschwitz, it was a welcome tonic to end the week!

It’s a 22 year-old reworking of a 44 year-old Broadway show by Clark Gesner based on Charles M Schultz  ‘Peanuts’ comic strip, given a delightful small-scale production by Anthony Drewe at the little Tabard Theatre in Chiswick. There’s no story as such – just cartoon strips turned into sketches with songs – but it’s the characters which make it hang together. The songs aren’t particularly distinguished, but its funny in a panto sort of way, appealing to adults and children, but each getting something different. For us adults, it’s wry, tongue-in-cheek and quirky.

It’s the performances that pull it off – six lovely characterisations. It’s great to see Hairspray’s Leanne Jones again here as Lucy, with Adam Ellis terrific as her brother Linus, with comfort blanket and speech defect. Nathanial Morrison has a wonderfully expressive face, which means you rarely stop smiling at his Schroeder and Hayley Gallivan gives us a cheeky gregarious Sally. Of course, it all revolves around Charlie Brown and Snoopy and Lewis Barnshaw & Mark Anderson respectively are spot on with their sense of resignation at whatever they encounter.

Great for kids and adults who’ve overdosed on angst and bleakness!

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