I’ve often wished that the works of Gilbert and Sullivan were done more often in our little corner of the world, so I was delighted to learn that Gulfshore Opera planned a production of The Mikado. I was introduced to the village of Titipu back in my high school days and have loved it ever since. I also count the production I saw at the Stratford Ontario Shakespeare Festival as the most inventive I’ve ever seen.
Not surprisingly, I started smiling at the first notes of the overture led by Dr. Trent Brown. And, indeed, the evening offered many opportunities to smile.
Stephen Quint lit up the makeshift stage at First Christian Church from his entrance as Ko-Ko, Lord High Executioner. His voice is not a big one; however, his diction was the best of the cast. His acting was spot on.
Another stand out was Justin John Moniz who looked the part as romantic lead, Nanki-Poo and had the strongest voice of the show. Ryan Allen as the Mikado was appropriately imperial. Joy Hermalyn as the dreaded Katisha showed impressive stage presence.
Kudos to the seamstresses, Ena Gleeson, Karla Arcenaux, Gisela Malzer, and Cathy Young. The costumes were gorgeous. The painted backdrop was nicely done too. It’s not easy to transform a church altar into Japan.
The chorus acquitted themselves well vocally, but their movements were a tad stilted. Admittedly, Stage Director Louis Dall’Ava didn’t have a lot of space in which to navigate. My unasked-for suggestion would be to use the services of a choreographer next time.
All in all, I give high marks for Gulfshore’s first attempt at a fully staged production. If the enthusiastic audience response is any indication, they’re here to stay.