Our 2009 production of The Mikado ran from the 15th to 18th April 2009.
The show opens in the town of Titipu where the chorus of nobles are joined by Nanki-Poo, disguised as a second trombone, who is looking for Yum-Yum, the ward of Ko-Ko. Pish-Tush , a noble lord, asks Nanki-Poo's business with Yum-Yum, and learns that the minstrel had seen the girl a year ago when he was a member of the town band. They had fallen in love, but Yum-Yum was betrothed to her guardian, Ko-Ko, 'a cheap tailor'. On hearing that Ko-Ko has been condemned to death for flirting, Nanki-Poo ha hurried back to try to claim Yum-Yum.
Unfortunately he finds that, far from being dead, Ko-Ko has in fact been let out on bail, and has been appointed Lord High Executioner. There is worse to come, as Poo-Bah (who holds every major office of state) informs Nanki-Poo that Yum-Yum and Ko-Ko are to be married that very day.
Ko-Ko then appears, wallowing in the crowd's adulation. While considering it unlikely that he will ever be called upon to act professionally, he proceeds to itemise his 'little list' of those 'whose loss would be a distinct gain to society at large'.
Yum-Yum and her sisters - Pitti-sing and Peep-Bo - arrive with their schoolfellows. Nanki-Poo appears, much to the girls excitement, but is soon sent packing by Ko-Ko. When Nanki-Poo finally discovers Yum-Yum on her own, he reveals that he is the son of Mikado, and she admits that she does not love her guardian. The two lovers realise that their cause is hopeless, and Yum-Yum leaves Nanki-Poo, who then resolves to kill himself.
Meanwhile, Ko-Ko has received a letter from the Mikado, who threatens to abolish the Post of Lord High Executioner and reduce Titipu to the rank of a village unless someone is beheaded within a month. On finding Nanki-Poo about to 'terminate an unendurable existence', Ko-Ko sees a way out of his dilemma - pointing out that suicide is a capital offence, he offers to do the job professionally. Nanki-Poo agrees, on the condition that he can marry Yum-Yum and enjoy one month of married life before he is beheaded, after which Ko-Ko will be able to marry the widowed Yum-Yum himself. Ko-Ko reluctantly concedes, and introduces Nanki-Poo to the crowd as his volunteer.
General rejoicing ensues but, amidst the celebrations, in storms Katisha. Having tracked down the object of her affections, Nanki-Poo, she threatens to reveal his true identity. She is shouted down by a chorus of Japanese Syllables: 'Oni! bikkurishak kurito!' (one of the many possible translations of which is 'So surprised, we hiccup! Pshaw!' But he town dwellers are not deterred, and 'joy reigns everywhere around'.
Act two opens with Yum-Yum being prepared for her wedding. Soon, however, the awful fact is out that under Mikado's law the widow of a beheaded man must be buried alive. This places Nanki-Poo in a dilemma: if he holds Yum-Yum to this marriage, she dies a hideous death; if he releases her, she must marry Ko-Ko at once. The marriage is off, and Nanki-Poo determines to do away with himself that very afternoon unless Ko-Ko will kill him at once. But it turns out that Ko-Ko can't kill anything. To make matters worse, the Mikado and his suite are approaching the town and will arrive in ten minutes. In desperation Ko-Ko arranges to falsify an affidavit of Nanki-Poo's execution.
The Mikado arrives with Katisha, who makes much of being his daughter-in-law elect. When Ko-Ko proudly presents the certificate of execution, the Mikado points out that, in his anxiety to carry out the Mikado's wishes, Ko-Ko has beheaded the heir to the throne of Japan. Ko-Ko and Pooh-Bah find Nanki-Poo and beg him to present himself, alive, to his father, thereby absolving them of his death. But Nanki-Poo, now married to Yum-Yum, is afraid of Katisha's wrath. Unless Ko-Ko can persuade the old hag to marry himself, Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum will leave on their honeymoon at once. Katisha, meanwhile, is mourning the death of Nanki-Poo; when Ko-Ko tries to woo her, she at first gives vent her wrath, but is eventually won over by a pack of flattering lies and a lovelorn ballad.
Nanki-Poo then returns to life, and presents himself - with new bride - to his father. Ko-Ko offers a tortuous explanation of his subterfuge to the bewildered Mikado, who eventually commutes his sentence of death to one of life with Katisha, pronouncing that 'nothing could possibly be more satisfactory'!
|The Mikado of Japan||Ron Williams||Bernard|
|Nanki-Poo||Andrew Armstrong||Tony White|
|Ko-Ko||Simon Wills||Lloyd Davis|
|Pooh-Bah||David MacTier||Andrew Armstrong|
|Pish-Tush||Geoff Allan||John Forrest|
|Yum-Yum||Maggie Nightingale||Jessie Copper|
|Pitti-Sing||Shelia Wills||Ruth Shipley|
|Peep-Bo||Judy Griffiths||Katherine Davis|
|Katisha||Linda Mumford||Sarah Bignell|