So why make Gilbert & Sullivan all male?
The answer is a simple one for director Sasha Regan who brings her all-male Mikado to Theatre Royal Brighton from June 13-17. “I think it gives you an innocence,” she says. “The problem with Gilbert & Sullivan is they are so traditional that even when I am directing now I have to try not to look and see anybody else’s version, however much I am tempted to have a look on Youtube. “You start rehearsing and then people say you have got to do this and that in such and such a way. “To do it as an all-male version is because I just wanted to scrub all that and completely start afresh. Having a group of young males playing schoolboys just gives you such a lovely innocence and playfulness. And you find new ways to discover the humour. “You get young people coming along and enjoying it and finding the humour and they just don’t realise that it was written a hundred years ago.” And as the tours stack up for the company, so do the audiences. “You would come along for the week and find that you had just a handful of people in the audience at the start of the week, but by the Saturday you had a good-sized house. “But now, this week in Winchester (where they were at the time of speaking), we had a really good house at the start of the week and you can’t get a ticket for the Saturday. “People like what they have seen on previous tours and they come back with their children and their grandchildren, and so the word spreads and the audiences grow.” And so G&S comes back into fashion. “I think the score is just brilliant. “When you have got a cast of 16 singing, half of them in falsetto, the music is just magnificent, and it is also very, very witty. “The audience are roaring with laughter. Operetta was the beginning of musical theatre, and everybody loves laughing at the establishment.” The latest show follows on from Sasha’s production The Pirates of Penzance – winner of Best Off West End Production at The What’s On Stage awards and recently returned from a tour of Australia, including a run at Cate Blanchett’s Sydney Theatre. The Mikado, she says, sees Gilbert & Sullivan at the height of their creative genius as they take us to the far-away land of Titipu where their penchant for poking fun at British Institutions combined with their humour and timeless tunefulness make for, arguably, the most popular opera ever written, including A Wand-ring Minstrel I, Three Little Maids, Willow Tit Willow and Some Day It Might Happen. “We are toying with the idea of doing Ruddigore next year, to have a bit of ghoulish fun. We have done Iolanthe, but we have not toured it yet. But working with ghosts and ghoulies would be great fun.” In theory, she could work through all the G&S’s, but that’s not really the way the company is going. It is more a case of adding new places to take the shows than adding new shows to the repertoire. “Each year we add new venues that won’t have seen the other productions. “We do them just one at a time. We would love to be able to tour them in rep and take a company out that could do two shows at a time, which is exactly how they were written, but we can’t really do that yet. “But it would be lovely to go out with the same company for two different shows.” Tickets on http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/theatre-royal-brighton/. Don't miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live. Here are four ways you can be sure you'll be amongst the first to know what's going on. 1) Make our website your homepage 2) Like our Facebook page 3) Follow us on Twitter 4) Register with us by clicking on 'sign in' (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here. And do share with your family and friends - so they don't miss out! Always the first with your local news. Be part of it.