Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Wednesday, 1 April 2015
The 3 Mikados, 1 April 2015 ****
With Colin Lane, David Collins & Esther Hannaford The Famous Speigeltent, until 19 April 2015 Melbourne Comedy Festival Stars: **** Reviewer: Kate Herbert Review also in Herald Sun online, 2 April 2015. KH
Mash up Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado with
some hilarious slapstick, goofy characters, hammy acting and delicious
harmonies and you have The 3 Mikados.
Directed deftly by Russell Fletcher, this totally
bonkers re-imagining of G & S's popular comic opera from 1885 is a treat
for so many reasons.
The show is the brainchild of two heroes of the
Australian comedy scene, Colin Lane (Lano and Woodley) and David Collins (Umbilical
Brothers), who bring their formidable physical and verbal comedy skills to the
Lane and Collins can sing too and are joined by
musical theatre star, Esther Hannaford (King Kong) with her exceptional voice,
and the inimitable John Thorn on piano.
In this version of The Mikado, the three performers
play multiple roles, a theatrical device that creates mirth and mayhem when all
characters are on stage at once and the trio must switch characters in the flap
of a fan.
They use blood red, Japanese paper fans and silly
voices to indicate costume and character changes, leading to plenty of
slapstick chaos and laughs.
The comic premise is that Lane is the autocratic boss
of the production – "It's My-Kado", he claims – so he grabs every
role, compels Collins and Hannaford to do humiliating auditions for
roles then steals their characters.
They switch in and out of character to argue about
acting styles and characterisations, criticise each other's performance, taunt
one another about their outside jobs, with Collins (and the audience) in
particular teasing Lane about his TV cooking show.
Their interpretations of G & S classics include
Collins' cleverly modernised rewrite of Ko-Ko, The Lord High Executioner's
song, I've Got A Little List, Lane's camp version of Nanki-Poo's romantic
ballad, A Wand'ring Minstrel I, and Hannaford's enthralling rendition of the jilted
Katisha's solo, Alone And Yet Alive.
Their trio of Three Little Maids From School Are We is
a hoot, the Mikado's song is a riot performed as a Burlesque fan
dance, and Let The Punishment Fit The Crime makes a fine finale.
This is show to catch, particularly if you are a bit
jaded by stand-up routines and want a bit of colour, physical comedy and music.