The Mikado is one of the best known and most loved operettas. Like many musical organisations, The Rathmines and Rathgar Musical Society have produced the comic work countless times, with the first production being in 1913. Therefore it seems fitting that the Society would choose it as part of the celebration of their centenary year.
From the overture Oriental sounds coming from the RTÉ Concert Orchestra along with an elaborate set allowed the audience to be transported to exotic Japan. The ensemble was strong throughout each of their performances. Their first achievement was the rich colour during Young Man Despair. However, the first act would have benefited from more distinctive diction as lyrics were lost in a mumble before reaching the stalls. Yet, the decidedly older crowd did not seem to mind as they showed their enjoyment after each well-known tune.
The production boasted a strong and able cast. Although none of the members disappointed, particularly strong performances came from Damien Douglas. Capturing the sheer comedy needed for the character of Koko, particularly as he recited the wrongs with the present world – from XFactor to corrupt bankers -during I Got A Little List whilst also showing his own diversity during On a Tree By A River. Heather Fogarty as Pitti Sing also surpasses her fellow female leads with her sweet and distinctive voice particularly through favourites like Three Little Maids From School Are We. This voice, alongside her abilities as an actor, proved to be a deadly combination throughout the second act when her character was given more autonomy. However the best was yet to come. Derek Ryan’s performance as The Mikado was simply breath-taking as his rich voice filled the National Concert Hall, leaving the audience in awe. Ryan’s contribution proved to be the highlight of the night, supplying the dominance both in sound and presence, needed to play this role.
In all, this was a successful night for the Rathmines and Rathgar Musical Society. The alteration of lyrics to comment on political topics that are currently being discussed in the public sphere was a nice touch; reiterating the satirical nature of the operetta when it was first performed. Performing one of their original productions from 1913 was a great way of acknowledging the societies past but by presenting such a young cast it was a suitable hint at the potential of the future of the society.