Topsy-Turvy (1999)

R  |   |  Biography, Comedy, Drama  |  11 February 2000 (USA)
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After Gilbert and Sullivan's latest play is critically panned, the frustrated team threatens to disband until it is inspired to write the masterpiece "The Mikado."



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Won 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sukie Smith ...
Roger Heathcott ...
Stage Doorkeeper
Wendy Nottingham ...
Stefan Bednarczyk ...
Frank Cellier
Geoffrey Hutchings ...
Francis Lee ...
Adam Searle ...
Martin Savage ...
Kate Doherty ...


After their production "Princess Ida" meets with less-than-stunning reviews, the relationship between Gilbert and Sullivan is strained to breaking. Their friends and associates attempt to get the two to work together again, which opens the way to "The Mikado," one of the duo's greatest successes. Written by Steve Fenwick <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Gilbert & Sullivan & So Much More See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of risque nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| | | |

Release Date:

11 February 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mike Leigh Untitled  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


£10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$32,718 (USA) (17 December 1999)


$6,201,757 (USA) (19 May 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


There are three Shakespearean quotes. The first is a line from Macbeth Act III, Scene 3 "O horror, horror, horror!...", spoken by Gilbert at breakfast in relation to the prospects for an extended run for 'Princess Ida'. The second is from Othello, Act I, Scene 1 : "What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe,/ If he can carry 't thus!" , spoken at the restaurant when discussing General Gordon's death at Khartoum. The third is also from Macbeth, Act II, Scene 2 : "A little water clears us of this deed," spoken by Helen Lenoir when comforting Rutland Barrington, who was ill from eating oysters. See more »


This well known quote from the film is a factual mistake: "If you wish to write a Grand Opera about a prostitute, dying of consumption in a garret, I suggest you contact Mr Ibsen in Oslo. I am sure he will be able to furnish you with something suitably dull". The city of Oslo got the name in 1925 - a long time after Ibsen's death in 1906. During Ibsen's lifetime, the capital of Norway was called Kristiania. See more »


Lucy Gilbert (Kitty): I should rather like to be an actor, upon the stage.
Gilbert: An actor?
Lucy Gilbert (Kitty): Yes. Wouldn't it be wondrous if perfectly commonplace people gave each other a round of applause at the end of the day?
[she claps enthusiastically]
Lucy Gilbert (Kitty): Well done, Kitty! Well done!
See more »


Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2015) See more »


Behold! the Lord High Executioner
from "The Mikado"
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by William S. Gilbert
Performed by Martin Savage and chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A film of much love and craft
13 December 2000 | by (Ottawa, Canada) – See all my reviews

Not being a big fan of opera (of the comedic variety or otherwise), I chose to watch this movie as a period piece, hoping to see a lot of eccentric characters putting on even more eccentric theatre. That was easy, since the trailer for the film points in that direction entirely.

What I didn't expect was a thoroughly entrancing inside view of the Victorian theatre. Not to mention comprehensive. Everyone is covered in this - from the stage boy through the chorus through the leads and producers and assistant directors. The telling of the complex relationships between the directors (Gilbert and Sullivan) and the leads is particularly poignant

  • whether dealing with the actors' considerable egos or their individual

popularity among the chorus, nothing presented doesn't ring true.

I loved everything about this movie. It's a great story, told wonderfully by all involved. It is truly a film of much love and craft.

And I expect I'll be attending the next run of the Mikado next time it comes to town.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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