2019 Hot Mikado

Book and lyrics adapted by David H.Bell
Music adapted and arranged by Rob Bowman
Based on "The Mikado" by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan

Hot Mikado takes the classic Gilbert and Sullivan tale and updates it to 1940s-style. Young Nanki-Poo, the Mikado’s son masquerading as a Second Trumpet player, arrives in the town of Titipu looking for the beautiful Yum-Yum. After bribing various officials he learns that she is still going to be marrying a former tailor turned Lord High executioner, Koko. Meanwhile, the Mikado demands that Ko-Ko execute one person within the next month. Nanki-Poo agrees to be executed as long as he can spend a month as Yum-Yum’s husband. However, the plan goes awry when the Mikado makes a surprise visit to Titipu and brings with him Katisha, an older woman who is pursuing Nanki-Poo. Fortunately, even though Nanki-Poo's execution had been publicly announced, it has not actually been carried out. Further, Ko-Ko and Katisha fall in love so Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum can stay married.

at the Epsom Playhouse
Spring 2019

Production Team

John trained at the Rose Bruford College of Drama, specialising in production and direction. Teaching and lecturing in Drama and Theatre, and freelance directing, for the past 40 years, has provided many wonderful memories. The 200-plus shows that he has directed, include Applause, Into the Woods, West Side Story, Hamlet, Annie, 42nd Street, Guys & Dolls, My Fair Lady, Beauty & the Beast, Hairspray, Legally Blonde and many, many more. His love of all styles of theatre has seen him directing Opera, Old Time Music Hall, Experimental Improvisation-based Drama, in addition to all his plays and musicals.

A proud father of six, John is delighted to be directing Hot Mikado for ELOC, collaborating with Chris and Dawn, and would like to pay tribute to the hard working and talented company and technical team, with whom he has been privileged to work.

As ELOC's President, Chris is delighted to be making his debut as Musical Director for Hot Mikado. Musical theatre has always been a big part of his life and he has been involved in many shows since ELOC's inception, but this will be the first time that the audience will be looking at the back of his head rather than his face! Chris has immensely enjoyed rehearsing with the talented cast and experienced production team and he is looking forward to working with the highly accomplished young musicians during show week. In his spare time he plays golf and tennis and also plays keyboards in a rock band. So he encourages you to sit back, enjoy the show and be prepared to 'tap your toes' to the modern arrangement of Sullivan's music.

It has been rumoured that Dawn learnt to dance before she knew how to walk and has not looked back since. Dawn’s passion and enthusiasm lead her tapping toes to embark on a career teaching dance as soon as she was able. Starting her teaching career by working in various established schools for 5 years, she developed a unique style which culminated in owning her own successful dance school in Frimley that excelled in all styles. Dawn has taught many of her students from the tender age of 2 through to their adult years and her seniors have regularly formed the core of a cabaret troupe which has supported numerous productions over the years. This close bond with her students has also found her invited into schools to teach specialist modules to GCSE classes.
From here it was but a short hop-skip-and-jump into choreography and ultimately directing. Dawn has worked with numerous societies over the years staging a wide variety of productions from Opera to Musicals including Carmen (both the Opera and the Musical), Witches of Eastwick, Jesus Christ Superstar, Mac and Mabel, Orpheus, Oliver and Fiddler On The Roof to name but a few.

Thirteen years ago Dawn choreographed Hot Mikado for ELOC and is delighted to be involved once again. Many of the cast members from 2006 are in this weeks production; a wonderful re-union.


HM DillipThe Mikado: Dillip Patel
Dilip is delighted to be playing the part of the Mikado, albeit with mixed feelings, since a very good friend, James, had to step down due to ill health.  It’s great to report, however, that James is now recovering well.  As The Mikado, Dilip enjoys the fact that everyone bows down to him(!), but “virtue is triumphant only in musical comedies”.  Most enjoyable roles to date include Daddy Brubeck in Sweet Charity, Ismay in Titanic - the Musical, Mikado in The Mikado, Dick Deadeye in HMS Pinafore and Christopher Belling in Curtains.
HM StephenKo-Ko: Stephen Chalkley
Stephen is delighted to be taking the role of Ko-Ko because he is a big fan of G&S, having enjoyed performing in many of their shows over the years. This one brings together the funny and brilliant Gilbertian story combined with the jazzed up music of Sullivan. This is Stephen's fourth show with ELOC and he looks forward to another fun week with them. He is proud to be performing opposite his wife Rachel, as it brings back fond memories of when they were Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum some time ago in the Waterford Festival of Light Opera. He hopes you enjoy the story of this wacky tale in Japanese America!
HM JacobNanki-Poo: Jacob Botha
Jacob retired from a professional acting career 12 years ago and decided that playing household objects, fugitives and star-crossed lovers in South West London and Surrey was more fun. Favourite projects include Lumber in Beauty And The Beast, Trevor Graydon in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Corny Collins in Hairspray, Cat! in Honk!, Mike in High Society and the international tour of Jesus Christ Superstar with Arts Asia Pacific. Jacob took a break from London from April 2016 to October 2017 and lived in San Francisco where he played Jack Point in Yeoman Of The Guard and Grosvenor in Patience for the acclaimed Lamplighters Music Theatre. Jacob works on the business side of healthcare during the day and is obsessed with his dog, Mozart.
HM DanielleYum-Yum: Danielle Kerley
Danielle is delighted to be playing the part of Yum-Yum, having made her ELOC debut playing Maria in West Side Story last October. Danielle has always loved performing on stage and has appeared in shows both amateur and professional from a young age. She is currently training to be a Clinical Psychologist and is very grateful to have rehearsals to look forward to after a busy day! Danielle would like to thank all the cast, production team and crew of Hot Mikado for their support and would also like to thank ELOC for welcoming her so warmly into the company.
HM KeithPooh-Bah: Keith Robertshaw
This is Keith’s first principal role with ELOC, and he’s delighted it’s in Hot Mikado as he’s got fond (but alarmingly distant) memories of playing Nanki-Poo in the Mikado for Croydon Operatic and Dramatic Association. Since then, notable roles have included The King in The King and I, Jud Fry in Oklahoma!, the eponymous Sweeney Todd, and Horton the Elephant in Seussical. He’s also directed The Full Monty at the Barn Theatre Oxted where he most lately appeared as poetic bus conductor Alfie Byrne in A Man of No Importance.
HM TobyPish-Tush: Toby James
This is Toby's first show with ELOC and also his first performance in a musical. Toby has been performing for four years now, exclusively with the Chipstead Players, playing Mickey in Blood Brothers, John Proctor in The Crucible and Mortimer in Arsenic and Old Lace. Toby is looking forward to joining the company for such a great show and being a part of a very talented cast.
HM LianPitti-Sing: Lian Finne
Lian joined Epsom Light Opera Company two years ago when she appeared in the chorus for Curtains. This will be her third time performing with the company, and she is delighted to be playing Pitti-Sing, a role that is completely out of her comfort zone but so much fun to do! She has really enjoyed trying a completely different style of singing and could easily get used to having Pitti-Sing levels of attitude all the time. Lian is also a member of The Lyric Players, and previous roles have included Maria in The Sound of Music, Sarah Brown in Guys & Dolls, Alice in The Addams Family and, most recently, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes. Lian has particularly enjoyed getting her tap shoes back out for this show and hopes you have a great time in Titipu.
HM SarahPeep-Bo: Sarah Farley
After being a member of ELOC for almost a decade, Sarah decided to take the plunge of auditioning for a principal part and is delighted to be playing the role of Peep-Bo in Hot Mikado! Some of Sarah’s favourite ELOC shows so far have included Anything Goes, Singin’ In The Rain and Calamity Jane. Sarah is rarely not singing or tapping her way round the house and she hopes you have as much fun in the audience as she will on stage with her ‘sisters’, Yum-Yum and Pitti-Sing!
HM RachaelKatisha: Rachael Yelland
Having performed in many shows in Surrey over the years Rachel is very excited to be involved in Hot Mikado. The Mikado is one of Rachel’s favourite shows having performed as Yum Yum opposite her now husband as Nanki-Poo 25 years ago in the award winning production at the Waterford Festival. It is also, coincidentally, where she first fell in love with him, but had to wait 15 years for him to fall in love with her! “I am an acquired taste, only the educated palate can appreciate me”. Having now educated Stephen’s palate, she is delighted to be playing opposite him again, but this time as Katisha vs Ko-Ko! 



Citizens of Titipu

Catherine Ash
Helen Ash
Melanie Beggs

Anthony Black
Katz Dent
Mike Ellis
Sophie Featherstone
Simon Ferrier
Chris Haslett
John Hayman-Joyce
Matt Howes
Jill Howlett
Paul Hyde
Steve Leitch
Jess McShee
Julie Parker
Jane Platts
Charlie Qureshi
Rick Thompsett
Monica Turnbull
Imogen Wallis
Emma Walker
Alan Wilkins
Karen Wilson
Sandra Zeffman

The Band

Flute, Clarinet, Saxaphone: Stephanie Franklin
Trumpet, Flugelhorn: Ed Sykes
Trombone: Henry Newton
Keyboard: Simon Leeson
Percussion: Alex Maxted
Double Bass: Peter Farthing

Show Synopsis

Act One

The lights rise on the town of Titipu, where the gentlemen of Japan are swinging, scatting and living their lives in song ("We Are Gentlemen of Japan"). They are interrupted by the entrance of Nanki-Poo, a fresh-faced rock-crooner who demands to know where to find Yum-Yum, the beautiful ward of a tailor named Ko-Ko. Nanki-Poo explains that he met Yum-Yum a year ago while playing second trumpet – an instrument that he plays without much talent – in the Titipu big band ("A Wand'ring Minstrel, I"). It was love at first sight, but hopeless, since she was engaged to her older guardian, Ko-Ko. However, Nanki-Poo has recently heard the happy news that Ko-Ko has been condemned to death by the almighty Mikado for breaking the law against flirting, and has rushed to Titipu in order to marry Yum-Yum.

Nanki-Poo is informed by the extremely cool Pish-Tush and Pooh-Bah that Ko-Ko has since been freed by the people of Titipu and made Lord High Executioner, its highest ranking official. Pooh-Bah, who became Lord High "everything else" after all of the other officials resigned in protest, also offers (for a small fee) the information that Yum-Yum and Ko-Ko are slated for marriage that very day ("And the Drums Will Crash"). Nanki-Poo is determined to find Yum-Yum at all costs before the wedding takes place.

Ko-Ko ceremoniously enters ("Behold the Lord High Executioner"), proclaiming his enthusiasm for ridding society of Ragtime Serenaders, Recluses, Revivalists and any other offenders on his list ("I've Got a Little List"). As Ko-Ko bribes Pooh Bah's multiple official positions into giving him wedding advice, Yum-Yum enters with her two scatting sisters, Peep-Bo and Pitti-Sing ("Three Little Maids"). Ko-Ko tries to kiss his unwilling bride-to-be, when Yum-Yum suddenly collides into Nanki-Poo. The lovestruck trumpet player begs her to turn down Ko-Ko and marry him instead, but Yum-Yum points out that a wandering minstrel is hardly a suitable husband for a ward of the Lord High Executioner. Nanki-Poo confesses to her that he is, in fact, no musician – instead, he is the son of the Mikado, himself! He had been forced to flee for his life to Titipu when Katisha, an older woman in the Mikado's court, claimed him in marriage under the Mikado's flirting law. While Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum realise that the law prohibits them from ever gazing into each others' eyes and breathing sighs of unutterable love, they still sneak one regretful kiss ("This Is What I'll Never Do").

Ko-Ko, trying in vain to soliloquise, receives a letter from the Mikado stipulating that, unless someone is beheaded within a month, his position will be abolished and Titipu will be reduced to village status. Since Ko-Ko is already under sentence of death for flirting, Pooh-Bah and Pish-Tush suggest that he simply execute himself. Ko-Ko points out that, not only is self-decapitation difficult, but that suicide is a capital offence. He tries to appoint Pooh-Bah as Lord High Substitute, but Pooh-Bah declines the honour ("I Am So Proud"). With no one willing to act as a volunteer, Ko-Ko is left to figure out a solution.

The solution arrives in the person of Nanki-Poo, who, devastated that Ko-Ko is going to marry the girl whom he loves, is searching for a tree in order to hang himself. Nanki-Poo is persuaded by Ko-Ko to be his substitute on the chopping block, but on one condition: that Yum-Yum be his bride until he is beheaded at the end of the month. Ko-Ko begrudgingly consents to the marriage, and there is much rejoicing by all ("Let the Throng Our Joy Advance").

Suddenly, Katisha appears, claiming Nanki-Poo for herself ("Katisha's Entrance"). She is informed by Pitti-Sing and the rest of the company that, unfortunately, her request cannot be fulfilled because of his upcoming wedding. ("For He's Going to Marry Yum-Yum"). Katisha soulfully mourns her lonely fate ("The Hour of Gladness") before spitefully attempting to reveal Nanki-Poo's true identity. Yum-Yum, anticipating her intentions, drowns her out in song. A vengeful Katisha is finally pushed offstage by a celebratory ensemble, which insists that nothing should be permitted to ruin the festivities to come. ("Finale – Act One")

Act Two

The women prepare Yum-Yum for the upcoming wedding behind lowered shades as the men stare at the pretty bride-to-be's silhouette ("Braid the Raven Hair"). Yum-Yum contemplates, in her artless Japanese way, how much more attractive she is than anyone else in the entire world ("The Sun and I"), but her happiness is shattered when she's reminded that her husband is to be beheaded in a month. Nanki-Poo suggests that time is purely arbitrary – if each "second" is called a "minute," they've got thirty years of married happiness before them. As the wedding procession begins, the company unsuccessfully endeavours to look on the bright side of the situation ("Swing a Merry Madrigal").

Before the wedding can take place, Ko-Ko announces his latest discovery: he will not be able to marry Yum-Yum after all, since, according to the Mikado's law, when a married man is beheaded, his wife must be buried alive! Nanki-Poo realises that, by insisting on the wedding, he dooms Yum-Yum to a hideous death. However, if he releases her from her promise, she must marry Ko-Ko at once ("Here's a Howdy Do")! To Ko-Ko's dismay, Nanki-Poo decides that the only way to solve the problem is to hang himself as he originally planned.

Pooh Bah announces the approach of none other than the Mikado, himself, causing Ko-Ko to insist that Nanki-Poo honour his contract and die by the hands of the Lord High Executioner. To his surprise, Nanki-Poo accepts. Ko-Ko admits that, in truth, he is incapable of killing even a fly – he had always thought his duties as Lord High Executioner were purely nominal. To convince the Mikado that his orders have been followed, Ko-Ko suggests that they create a certificate of Nanki-Poo's execution, witnessed by all of the officials of Titipu (i.e., Pooh-Bah... for some cold hard cash). However, Nanki-Poo must promise to leave and never return. Nanki-Poo agrees to do so only on the condition that he marry Yum-Yum immediately.

The Mikado, a cool cat who believes that the punishment should always fit the crime ("The Mikado Song"), demonstrates how to tap any troubles away. Ko-Ko informs him that the demanded execution has taken place but quickly finds out that the Mikado has come about another matter – his son, who ran away a year ago, has been masquerading in Titipu, disguised as a second trumpet player. Ko-Ko, Pooh-Bah and Pitti-Sing try to convince the Mikado that Nanki-Poo is in Cleveland, but Katisha discovers his name on the execution certificate. The Mikado, understanding that Nanki-Poo's true identity had been kept a secret, regretfully points out that the punishment for killing the Heir Apparent doesn't take this into consideration. It is decided that, after lunch, Ko-Ko, Pitti-Sing and Pooh-Bah will die in boiling oil.

Ko-Ko realises that Nanki-Poo must be brought back to life immediately. However, Katisha would then insist on the execution of the newlywed Nanki-Poo, causing Yum-Yum to be buried alive. Nanki-Poo suggests the ultimate solution – Ko-Ko must marry Katisha! Ko-Ko is reluctant – even Katisha's famed left shoulder blade can't make up for her plain face – but, when Nanki-Poo insists this is the only way he will "reappear" in Titipu, Ko-Ko sets off to win Katisha's heart.

Katisha wonders why death refuses to come and bring peace to her broken heart ("Alone and Yet Alive") as Ko-Ko springs into action, telling her that he'll die on the spot if she doesn't accept his love. Katisha claims no one has ever died of a broken heart, so Ko-Ko responds with the tragic tale of Tit-Willow, a little bird who wasted away due to blighted affection ("Tit-Willow"). Katisha is touched by the story, and the two realize that they are a perfect couple ("Beauty in the Bellow").

As the Mikado prepares to boil Ko-Ko, Pitti-Sing and Pooh-Bah in oil, Katisha begs him to show them mercy, particularly since she is so koo-koo for Ko-Ko, she has gone and married him. The Mikado is understanding, but mentions that this does not solve the problem – the Heir Apparent is still slain. With that, the Heir Apparent himself appears, along with the Mikado's new daughter-in-law, causing everything to fall happily into place as the Mikado calls the show to an end ("Finale – Act Two”).

Promotional Photos - By Charlotte Thompson

Photos for our promotional photo shoot are available for viewing - click here

Dress Rehearsal Photos - By Andy Carter

Photos from the Dress Rehearsal are available for viewing - click here

Review by Jon Fox, NODA Rep

ELOC - "Hot Mikado"
Epsom Playhouse - 9th March 2019

In 1961 copyright ceased for the Gilbert & Sullivan operas which, in my opinion, has greatly helped to ensure their survival. What the author and composer would have felt about such distinctly 21st century style shows as Hot Mikado we can only speculate upon. In fact, Hot Mikado goes way back into the 20th century, but is so modern, so vital and energetic that it could have been born today. An Anglo-American mine of joy!

In the prodigious and artistically brilliant hands of director John Harries-Rees, ELOC had a sure fire hit from the moment he accepted their invitation to direct. I have had the great pleasure to review many of John's productions and have long run out of sufficient adjectives to properly describe my admiration for his work. From its sizzling opening number to the rousing Act 2 Finale I was entranced; a child once again taken to his first magical stage production! What Joy!

Making his ELOC debut as Musical Director was the marvellous Chris Evans who has graced endless shows whilst on stage. Assisted very ably indeed by the experienced David Edwards, Chris, together with his six person but nine instrumental band, gave us professional standard music throughout. To describe this production as "amateur" is as laughably silly as it is - technically only - accurate. Ah, the absurdity of labels!

A splendid cast full of top quality performers shone like beacons as they radiated their talents and skills. The Wandering Minstrel AKA Nanki-Poo, played with authority by Jacob Botha, who used his melodious tenor voice to great effect, set a standard for all the other principals following him. The beautiful melodic singing voice of Danielle Kerley thrilled us all as Yum-Yum, playing opposite Jacob and matching his great charisma throughout. Lian Finne was a top performer giving Pitti-sing a vibrant cheekiness and playing this important role with nuanced skill. Sarah Farley gave the down to earth Peep-Bo a distinct character all her own, pointing her all too few spoken lines with aplomb!

And so to the jazzy , cool cat Mikado himself in the considerable presence of Dilip Patel, resplendent in a black and white diamond patterned waistcoat and dressed to the nines. Just when you think a show simply cannot get any better still, it did. Another scintillating performance to watch in awe!

Toby James as Pish-Tush sang his tricky patter song skilfully and gave depth to this interesting noble. The oh so English Pooh-Bah (Lord High Everything Else) sneered and patronised supremely well and Keith Robertshaw playing him gave us a rare treat. In the pivotal role of Ko-Ko, we had a performance par excellence. The Grossmith parts are known for requiring clarity of diction more than beautiful vocal tone, but Stephen Chalkley had all the stage skills in abundance and did everything supremely well, singing, acting, pathos, comedy, stage presence. A performance of awe!

Ko-Ko's nemesis, whom he is forced to woo, was no less than the most redoubtable battle axe character in the G&S repertoire. Rachael Yelland was truly something else as Katisha. She could - and did - wring the emotions of the audience from loathing her to pitying her and Rachel had the best song in the show in "Alone and yet Alive". To my mind this was the single most outstanding highlight in a show filled with highlights. Goosebump time indeed!

So many humorous and innovative moments were sprinkled like stardust on this production. The Laurel and Hardy touch by Ko-Ko and Pooh-Bah; "call me Fido" (Pooh-Bah); the stunningly effective company freeze after Katisha's entrance; bird song SFX in Yum-Yum's solo; Yum-Yum being dressed in silhouette scene were just a very few examples of how a visionary director can elevate any show.

The dancing throughout was magical! Dawn, the choreographer, set a standard I have rarely seen attempted, let alone carried out so thrillingly. Wonderful, colourful, sexy even, costumes from Triple C, co-ordinated beautifully by Dawn and by Sandra Zeffman, aided by excellent make up from an in house team.

Lighting was top notch under designer Simon Banks and operator Dominic Lawrence. Stuart Vaughan with Jacky Cook on sound did sterling work too. Stage manager Sarah Wood and DSM Richard Pike did their work unobtrusively and the continuity in this production was of professional standard.

This was to all intents and purposes a professional show staged by an "amateur" company. I have seen a number of Hot Mikados over many years. This was, by a distance, the very best and anyone who did not leave the theatre in wonder and awe at what they had just witnessed should be banned by law from entering any theatre ever again. ELOC, I salute you all!

Jon Fox
NODA District 19

Promotional Videos

ELOC Proudly Presents Hot Mikado

Here's a quick look at all the fun you can expect...

Hot Mikado cast members spread the 'joy' in Epsom Town Centre on Saturday 30th March, by singing a few songs from the show! Here's a little sneak peak in case you missed it! Like what you hear....? Want to see more....? Then book your tickets today!

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