FRINGE REVIEW – The Hot Mikado


By Hayley-Jane Doyle

Before settling into your seat, be prepared to be dazzled by a bizarre and shocking whirlwind of a weird and wonderful world.

Following a slightly shaky opening, with some off timing and precarious accents, the cast of Hot Mikado grabbed their show with open arms and a firm and unyielding grasp. Their energy is phenomenal, encouraging you to relax and accept the peculiar, the unexpected, and the farcical. A quick glance at anyone on stage is enough to thoroughly convince of the authenticity of the Mikado world. With such an alert cast, each reaction is spot on.

Characterisation is most certainly Warner’s forte. He is instrumental in successfully carrying the show along, with enormous vigour and fantastic comic timing.  All soloists’ voices are impressive and captivating. Despite Howie’s occasional lapses in expressively conveying Yum-Yum’s ditzy and zesty nature, her and Wingfield’s beautiful tones are charming and offer a rare, calming element to the eccentric show. Hollinshead’s commanding power is performed with conviction and both Hollinshead and Pope’s voices are startlingly stunning, beautifully unlocking a gospel vibe.

The band is absolutely fantastic, adding an enormous buzz and vitality to the performance. The enthusiasm of the Musical Director on keys is astounding and, particularly during the overture, he is a joy to watch. However, the balance is not quite right and too often drowns out the voices of the cast, particularly when those performing are positioned or facing upstage, or have softer voices. This undermines the cast’s performances and unfortunately allows for an interruption of the intense atmosphere.

Mutch’s choreography is both wild and impressive and it is executed brightly and with immense precision. The cast successfully drive forward an incredibly fast-paced show where there is no time to breathe or blink. Each scene and song launches itself on stage in an excitable, sparkling burst and then, in a flash, bounces on to the next one. The three sisters epitomise this pace, pouncing forward in a fun and sexy doll-like fizz. Each fragment of the show becomes crazier than the one proceeding, the entire hour bursting and bustling with ludicrous moments.

4-29 August, 1850 @ C Venues, ECA

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