Of all of Sasha Regan’s all-male Gilbert and Sullivan productions, Iolanthe is the one which I remember most fondly so the news that it was the choice for this year’s revival for a UK tour left me tripping hither and thither in excitement.
The adaption is set in a private school camping trip which I must admit, I did not realise until I read it in the programme. I feel the production was supposed to be contextualised within a certain setting, however, I felt it was staged rather randomly in a wood far away from any towns or villages.
I’ve said this lots of times before but you can’t spoof a spoof – when written in 1885 The Mikado was already a parody, satirising British Imperial politics and institutions by transposing them to a fictionalised Japan, and lampooning the fashion for orientalism.
The production is set in the grounds of a 1950s-ish school camping trip, a canny move which neatly sidesteps some of the Orientalism issues and refocuses G+S’s satire on the English political establishment.
It’s a brilliant, inventive and perceptive deconstruction of the Saturday night out. Originally performed at the Fringe in 1977 as a two hander it first appeared as a four-hander in the early Eighties. But this is the nineties remix, reworked again from its Yorkshire origins so that it has a solid Edinburgh feel to it.
Sasha Regan sets her Mikado in the tents around the camp fire of an English public school camping trip in the 1950s. Here, the bullied boy of the class falls asleep and dreams that his classmates and teachers have trotted off to Titipu, with the gentlemen of Japan.
The Mercators are back at the Fringe this year with Austensibility; an engaging dramatised reading celebrating the life and works of Jane Austen.
Whilst The Mikado and Pirates of Penzance have had a number of recent and successful modern treatments, wresting the rest of the Gilbert and Sullivan canon from the dead hand of D’Oyly Carte and its historically reverential staging has proved more difficult, so Sasha Regan and her all-male company at the Union Theatre are to […]
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