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March 20, 2002

The Mikado

Last Wednesday evening (20th March) I went to Japan! I didn’t go alone – I had about 200 travelling companions and what is even more remarkable another 600 people made the same trip over the next three evenings. I had no long, tiring flight to endure and no arrangements to make, thank goodness!

The whole event was organised for us by the Pirton Players and we were all magically transported to the town of Titipu where we met the most distinguished people including – the Emperor of Japan, several Noblemen, beautiful maidens, an Executioner, and a terrifying Matriarch – How’s that for an itinerary!!!

In truth we all went to Pirton Village Hall, but once we entered the ‘portal’ we were in a different world – the world of Pirton Players’ production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Mikado. For those of you who were not amongst my travelling companions and are not familiar with the storyline of the Mikado let me give you a short synopsis:

No, on second thoughts it is far too complex to relate in a few words – let’s just say that the plot is very convoluted and involves crime, punishment, deception, absconding – Oh, and of course the eternal love triangle (although in this case it is more like an eternal polygon!)

The casting was excellent; from the principle characters right through to the members of the chorus. Mike Tackley as Ko-Ko (the Lord High Executioner) with his natural wit and energy maintained the light-hearted element of the proceedings even though he was nearly beaten senseless, or should I say wig-less, by Ruth Smith (Katisha - the matriarch) whose performance both captivated and terrified in equal proportions.

Peter Johnson as Pooh-Bah (the Lord High Everything Else) displayed all the pomposity one would expect from a self-elevated individual and both Maxine Shearer and Graham Gibbs (the unrequited lovers Yum-Yum and Nanki-Poo) reflected superbly the tenderness and frustrations of their situation. The appearance of the Mikado (Steve Jaynes) in his magnificent costume towards the end of the performance was regal in the extreme. (And I haven’t yet been able to stop singing ‘Let the Punishment Fit the Crime’)

It never ceases to amaze me how many talented people there are in and around Pirton. The depth and quality of talent encompasses not only beautiful voices and acting ability but superb musicianship, choreography, stage management, lighting, sound, theatrical make-up, dressmaking, production and direction skills to bring all these talents together to provide truly professional entertainment. Whilst it is not possible to mention all the individuals involved I am sure that all those who attended the performances will join me in a wholehearted ‘Congratulations’ to everyone for their hard work and dedication.

For me it was the ‘attention to detail’ that made the whole experience of my visit to Japan so enjoyable. Thank you Pirton Players. [Review by: Angela Bristow]

Director  -  Judy McDonnell
Producer - Lorna Sexton
Musical Director  -  Margaret Johnson

Inscrutable  -  Jenny Butler
Inscrutable  -  Sarah Milton
Inscrutable  -  Valentina Sexton
Inscrutable  -  Danielle Turnbull
Katisha  -  Ruth Smith
Ko-Ko  -  Michael Tackley
Nanki-Poo  -  Graham Gibbs
Nobleman of Japan  -  Richard Eccles
Nobleman of Japan  -  John Hayes
Nobleman of Japan  -  Paul Ribbans
Nobleman of Japan  -  Dave Tinney
Peep-Bo  -  Helen Walker
Pish-Tush  -  Sue Kennedy
Pitti-Sing  -  Juliet Alexander
Pooh-Bah  -  Peter Johnson
School Friend  -  Sophie Davies
School Friend  -  Gena Edwards
School Friend  -  Sarah Farr
School Friend  -  Jill Rogers
School Friend  -  Fizz Gibbs
School Friend  -  Helen Hofton
School Friend  -  Julie Dawson
School Friend  -  Valmai Guess
School Friend  -  Ann Fausset
The Mikado of Japan  -  Stephen Jaynes
Yum-Yum  -  Maxine Shearer

Bar Manager  -  Kevin Quinn
Bar Team  -  Dennis Sexton
Bar Team  -  Maggie Barton
Bar Team  -  Pat Stedham
Bar Team  -  Angie Bristow
Bar Team  -  Claire Snell
Bar Team  -  Mark Woodward
Bar Team  -  Chris Saunders
Bar Team  -  David Saunders
Box Office  -  Helen Smith
Box Office  -  Sarah Farr
Choreographer  -  Valmai Guess
Costumes  -  Alison Bierrum
Costumes  -  Ann Wilshere
Costumes  -  Rhoda Hartley
Costumes  -  Janet Quinn
Costumes  -  Helen Walker
Design  -  Sue Wilde
Director  -  Judy McDonnell
Front of House  -  Janet Tackley
Front of House  -  Viv Tyler
Lighting  -  Derek Webb
Lighting  -  Bill Steadman
Make-up  -  Vicki Manning
Make-up  -  Jeannie Jungreuthmayer
Make-up  -  Julia Thorpe
Make-up  -  Bren Timson
Make-up  -  Susie Welch
Musical Director  -  Margaret Johnson
Musician  -  Rosie Eccles
Musician  -  Helen Walker
Musician  -  Claudine Harris
Producer  -  Lorna Sexton
Prompt  -  Lorna Sexton
Prompt  -  Kate Leafhead
Props  -  Liz Chapman
Props  -  Liz Gentle
Publicity  -  Jill Rogers
Set Construction  -  Graham Gibbs
Set Construction  -  Dudley Gentle
Sound  -  Dave Wallace
Sound  -  Geoff Collins
Stage Manager  -  Neil Shearer
Stage, Bar & Foyer  -  Carol Brown
Stage, Bar & Foyer  -  Meryl Litchfield
Tea Lady  -  Kitty Howard
Tea Lady  -  Hilda Handscombe
Wardrobe Mistress  -  Jan Simmons

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