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 ... See full summary »


(additional material), (operetta) (as William S. Gilbert) | 2 more credits »


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Credited cast:
Jon English ...
Derek Metzger ...
Terri Crouch ...
Bev Shean ...
Drew Forsythe ...
David Gould ...
Lisa McArdle ...
Sister (The Fabulous Singlettes)
Andrea Gallaher ...
Sister (The Fabulous Singlettes)
Georgia Duder ...
Sister (The Fabulous Singlettes)
Christophe Broadway ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jason Barry-Smith ...
Michael Bayly ...
Robert Dale ...
Les Dwight ...
Tristan Glendinning ...


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 <>

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Musical | Comedy





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The Town of Titipu  »

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Version of The Cool Mikado (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

This is the show for you
13 December 2005 | by (Birmingham, England) – See all my reviews

I came to this film expecting it to be every bit as bad as the same company's HMS Pinafore but I was wrong. It is worse, much worse. I took a lot of stick for my criticism of Pinafore, the gist of it being that it was good, clean family fun and served as a suitable introduction to opera for the young. Both films are currently showing on Sky's Artsworld channel. Artsworld are brazenly promoting them, praising the cast for its "infectious energy and enthusiasm". Sky's own magazine published a letter this month from a sycophantic viewer, praising the operas and begging for more. Well, as a reviewer, it teaches me an important lesson, There are no absolutes in film criticism, one person's rubbish is another person's masterpiece. IMDb is a vibrant testimony to this principle. One only has to look at some of the ecstatic reviews of Plan 9 From Outer Space on this site to see what I mean.

This film of The Mikado was recorded live in Auckland, New Zealand in 1996, although the cast seem to consist mainly of former stars of Australian soaps. The singing is of a low standard but this hardly matters since it is continually interrupted by slapstick buffoonery. The orchestra consists of three keyboards, two percussion and a bass and everything is performed with a disco beat. The level of humour never gets above the crotch. In fact, it could be said that the crotch is the leitmotif of this opera. If you think crotches and bottoms are funny, this is the show for you.

The piece starts with the chorus singing "If you want to know who we are, we are gentlemen of Japan". This is useful information because they look, for all the world like Maoris in cycle shorts. They duly twirl round and wiggle their bottoms at the audience. This is followed by Pooh-Bah, played by the repulsive Jon English. Every time he mentions the heroine, Yum Yum, he has to buckle his knees and wiggle his crotch while groaning "Whoaaa". For elegant relief he is also fond of lifting his leg in the air accompanied by a flatus-passing sound. However, Jon English is Mr Charisma in comparison to the odious Drew Forsythe, who squeaks and gurgles his way through the role of Ko-Ko. Unaccountably, he wears a Little Miss Muffet costume and, yes, you've guessed it, he's fond of scratching his crotch. A trio billed as The Fabulous Singlettes then bump and grind their way through Three Little Maids before giving a caterwauling rendition of Braid the Raven Hair. David Gould plays the Mikado in a Gary Glitter costume and seems over-fond of waving the tassel on his codpiece. Still, I would not like to give you the impression that all the attempts at humour revolve around bottoms and crotches: there is a lengthy sequence where Ko-Ko blows his nose and then tries to get rid of the resulting bogy by smearing it over Nanki-Poo and Pooh-Bah.

Well, if you think this is the way to introduce young people to opera, this is the show for you. Sadly WS Gilbert's wonderful lyrics get lost in all this. In fact the egregious Drew Forsythe is given the main writing credit. His version of "I've got a little list" is profoundly embarrassing. WS Gilbert is reduced to second billing. Gilbert's lyrics to this opera are so musical that they scarcely need a composer "To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock, in a pestilential prison with a life-long lock, awaiting the sensation of a short sharp shock, from a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block" practically sets itself to music. Nevertheless, Sullivan produced his best score for this piece. When performed with a disco beat it is actually slower and less rhythmical than Sullivan's original. Everyone associated with this film should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. From a long list of guilty men, the greatest opprobrium must go to Kevin Hocking who (presumably) has some musical training and is responsible for the cacophonous arrangement and the conducting..

In short, if you are the person who drives past my house with your car windows wide open and your stereo going Thump, Thump, Thump… this is the show for you.

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