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Are the G&S Society taking The Mikado?
The Mikado
The finale to Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado

Leeds Gilbert & Sullivan Society are bringing a touch of the orient to the city with the The Mikado.

The society, which celebrated its centenary in 2009, will be performing one of the most popular of the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas.

Although set in Japan, The Mikado is actually a satire on British politics and institutions.

The setting allowed plotwriter W.S. Gilbert more freedom by disguising the protagonists as Japanese.

To anyone who has seen Mike Leigh's film, Topsy Turvy, the plot of The Mikado will be very familiar.

Nanki-Poo, the son of the Mikado, disguised as a musician, loves Yum-Yum, and she loves him. However she's engaged to Ko-Ko, Titipu's Lord High Executioner, who actually hasn't executed anyone ever.

The Mikado, who likes an execution, has noticed this and descends on Titipu, bringing with him battleaxe Katisha, who believes herself engaged to Nanki-Poo.

Can Nanki-Poo live without Yum-Yum? Will Ko-Ko really have to execute someone? And what will Katisha do when she finds Nanki-Poo?

The tangled web is charmingly resolved with Gilbert's witty lyrics and some of Sullivan's most sparkling music, including 'Three Little Maids', 'The Sun Whose Rays', 'The Flowers That Bloom In The Spring' and 'Tit Willow'.

Leeds Gilbert & Sullivan Society has always been a real family affair, and this year is no exception. Playing Katisha, and revelling in the part of a real battleaxe, is Janet Johnston.

Battling against her, in the part of Yum-Yum's best friend Pitti-Sing, is Janet's daughter, Rebecca Stirk and stage managing the whole production is son Matthew Stirk.

Janet, from Thorner, says: "I'm really enjoying playing the old dragon Katisha, especially playing opposite Becky. And having Matt in the wings stage-managing the whole production makes me really proud of them both."

The Mikado runs from Saturday 6 March until Saturday 13 March 2010 at The Carriageworks, Millennium Square.


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