‘The Mikado’: Gilbert and Sullivan classic wicked, hilarious

The Northwest Savoyards’ “The Mikado” is preciously wicked, what with the love triangle, threats of beheadings and the nonstop hilarious satire.

And, somehow, the Savoyards managed to find six flawless voices to sing lead roles, thus taking this production beyond just wicked fun to wicked good.

If you have never seen a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, see this one. If you are a longtime G&S fan, see this one. You will walk out thinking this “Mikado” is as good as anything you’d see in Seattle.

Take a look at the lineup:

Craig Cantley is colossal as the cranky Poo-Bah (“I can’t help it. I was born sneering.”) Cantley was recently on stage in Seattle Opera’s chorus of “Il Travatore” and has performed with several opera companies, including San Francisco and Skagit operas.

Claudette Hatcher is the not-to-be-messed-with Katisha, who has sang for Tacoma and Bellevue operas and whose version of “Alone and Yet Alive” will give you chills.

Dave Holden was fantastically funny as Ko-Ko and continues to sing out superbly in this his third production with the Savoyards.

Savoyards newcomer Derek Sellers was recently seen as a chorus member in a Tacoma Opera production and here played Nanki-Poo with skill and humor (at one point his wig became askew and he just went with it).

Classically trained vocalist Georgia Hill made a stunning Savoyards debut as Yum-Yum. Her voice was delicious throughout this production but particularly so when she delivered “Were I Not to Ko-Ko Plighted” like a two-scoop helping of dessert with a cherry on top.

William Darkow is a G&S veteran actor who has performed all 13 of the Savoy operettas with companies all over Puget Sound, and here produced a perfect Pish-Tush.

The other solid lead singers in this talented cast were Mark Abel as The Mikado of Japan, Lisa Wright Thiroux, who was both director and Pitti-Sing, and Katie Collins, who played Peep-Bo.

As is the standard with Gilbert and Sullivan, the lyrics are dense, clever and at times almost convoluted, so in Act I, some moments are hard to follow and the audience might have benefited from a written libretto in the program (though the cost of that is probably prohibitive). Happily, there were no such moments in Act II.

“The Mikado” — or the “Town of Titipu” — opens with Nanki-Poo, the son of the Emperor of Japan, running away from home so he doesn’t have to marry Katisha.

He goes to the town of Titi-pu, where his true love, Yum-Yum, lives. Unfortunately, she is betrothed to Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner.

The thick humor in this production offers lots of laughs as the British social system — in a traditional Japanese setting — is shredded with puns, satire and updated political pot shots.

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424; goffredo@heraldnet.com.

“The Mikado”

8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays through March 21 at Historic Everett Theatre, 2911 Colby Ave., Everett. Tickets are $22 and $19. Call 425-258-6766 or go to www.everetttheatre.org.

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