Not to be missed
Creative Energy is a seldom recognised and frequently underestimated component of successful theatre. This re-working of the Gilbert and Sullivan classic, initiated by David H. Bell and Ron Bowman at Ford's Theatre in Washington, re-staged here by the Dublin Musical Theatre Players under the competent direction of John Donnelly and the driving musical direction of David Wray, is bursting with such energy. It may not have the hard professional edge of Broadway (or even of the West End or Washington), but its creative energy drove it home to a cheering reception, well deserved.
Much of the credit must belong to the Bell and Bowman translation into music, which ranges from Gospel and Swing through Rock, Jazz and even snatches of Motown without ever being wholly disrespectful of Sullivan's original melodies, which can be identified throughout, or of Gilbert's lyrics which, less instantly recognisable, are there in spirit, though blurred in performance and effectively updated. But credit is also due to the skill of the director in recognising the technical limitations of a semi-professional cast and a Dublin budget and the similar skill shown by Joan Kenny in devising lively choreography which the large cast can handle well.
A great deal of credit is also due to the performers, led by Joe Conlan's misshapen pinstriped Ko-Ko, a convulsively funny cross between Arthur Askey and Woody Allen with dancing feet and perfect comic timing. Adam Lawlor is a suitably lugubrious Pooh-Bah with as many characters as he has pompous titles. Aiden Conway's love-lorn Nanki-Poo is played straight and effectively, as is Samantha Mumba's beautiful Yum-Yum, and both have voices that can carry the required musical styles. They have excellent and solid support from Brenda Brooks's sultry Katisha, Dez Allen's tapdancing Mikado, Ellen McEl roy's vocally powerful PittiSing and Damien Douglas's Pish-Tush, Thomas Spratt's Junior and Regina McFadd en's Peep-Bo.
Early booking is advised, since the show is scheduled for only two weeks. When word of mouth gets around, its colourful, energetic success is likely to cause a rush on the boxoffice and, hopefully, an extension of its all-too-brief run. It is great unpretentious fun.
Continues until September 13th. Booking: (01) 677 7744.