In a mythical Japan, Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor, has been appointed Lord High Executioner and must find someone to execute before the arrival of the ruling Mikado. He lights upon Nanki-Poo, a strolling minstrel who loves the beautiful Yum-Yum. But Yum-Yum is also loved by Ko-Ko, and Nanki-Poo, seeing no hope for his love, considers suicide. Ko-Ko offers to solve both their problems by executing Nanki-Poo, and an agreement is reached whereby Ko-Ko will allow Nanki-Poo to marry Yum-Yum for one month, at the end of which Nanki-Poo will be executed, in time for the arrival of the Mikado. But what Ko-Ko doesn't know is that Nanki-Poo is the son of the Mikado and has run away to avoid a betrothal to an old harridan named Katisha. The arrival of the Mikado brings all the threads of the tale together. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
At the conclusion of the wonderful prologue (A Wand'ring Minstrel I), my wife and I broke into applause right there in the den. Can't remember our doing that before. One reason it's so good is that the director found a way to keep it in its stage home without being stagey. The key to this is editing -- lots of fast cuts among faces and angles. Given these, the camera can rejoice in the operetta's stage-centeredness: the chorus can file onstage in glorious pageant and wondrous costume; the singers can face the audience and extend their arms in that wonderful G&S take on the hamminess that underlies the proper Englishman. That's another great thing about this production. It's clearly about how *Englishmen* would look and act if someone transported them to a magical imaginary Japan whose dimensions are constrained only by only the few wisps of knowledge in the *English* mind. The singing is tops, the physical comedy is wonderful, and there's more good feeling in it than in the next 20 Hollywood feel-good movies you'll see.
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