MacEwan Theatre Arts wrapped up their season with Hot Mikado. From the website:
“The story is based on the Gilbert and Sullivan original The Mikado. In an imaginary Japan, the town of Tittipu has tired of the Mikado’s (emperor’s) law which makes flirting the only crime punishable by death. They appoint a lowly tailor, one Ko-Ko, Lord High Executioner, since he has been condemned for flirting, and won’t execute himself or anyone else. Ko-Ko is about to marry his beautiful ward, Yum-Yum, but she is being pursued by a young man of her own age, Nanki-Poo, who is pretending to be a second-trombone player. He is actually the son and heir-apparent of the Mikado, having fled from his father’s court when accused of flirting with the elderly and formidable Katisha, who wants to marry him or have him beheaded. Will Nanki-Poo be executed? Will true love prevail?”
It’s not hard to guess the answer to that question, nor is it a huge leap to assume that the production relies too heavily of the charm on the cast to carry across a fairly trite story. In this case, as with most MacEwan productions, the cast was a mixed bag.
Corey Rogers (Nanki-Poo) and Yemie Sonuga (as Katisha) were both unfortunately unable to carry a tune. Thankfully, there were a few surprises (Adrianne Salmon and Matt Van Boeyen) to help balance out the group, but it was still a bit painful to have to sit through some pretty awful numbers.
Dickson and I were both looking forward to the appearance of Alissa Keogh, who even as a chorus Gentleman #7 in the first half of the production managed to outshine most of her castmates. The second act saw her take a turn as the Mikado, complete with a solo tap performance, which she nailed. Her ease with movement and song will be a loss to the MacEwan stage, but I am certain she will be on to bigger and better things upon graduation.
Also looking forward, the program included a listing of the 2008-2009 theatre season, which includes a play by none other than Stewart Lemoine, which will run from March 13-21, 2009. It seems his departure from the position of Teatro Artistic Director has allowed him the time and space to write for alternative venues like the Edmonton Opera and now MacEwan. Where will he pop up next?