A numb bum, a leg so crammed in it went to sleep even before the show began and a chilling wind blowing in off the Atlantic are hardly the best recipe for theatrical enjoyment, even on a sunny autumn evening. Thus it was for a performance of Hot Mikado at the uniquely set Minack Theatre, carved out of the cliffs at Porthcurno, six miles from Lands End.
The show, based on the skeletal remains of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera, purports to be a modern rendition of the G&S classic. In reality it is an excuse to string together a succession of high-energy musical numbers linking a story line with its feet inexplicably firmly planted in the Bronx rather than anywhere within cooee of the Orient.
It was reminiscent of listening to one’s scratchy old Glenn Miller LPs rather than anything ever heard at the Savoy Opera; much more Guys and Dolls than G and S. It was a rollicking swing era romp with touches of Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holliday and even Stubby Kaye.
Truro Amateur Operatic Society deserve full credit for its lively ensemble work with the chorus mostly in step and some lusty singing from some of the lead players. But just what the link was between the most English of musical creations and this twangy American celebration right out of Brooklyn was perplexing throughout.
Why not simply bill it as a swinging affair (shades of early Sinatra) and forget the Lord High Executioner and his shady mates?
A hot Mikado? Not in these chilly settings. And the over-arching question remains … why?