Playing in front of the largest audience of their nationwide tour inspired Illyria’s cast to produce an A star performance on a dry calm evening.
The rich variety of Sullivan’s music in The Mikado demands first-class singing and each member of the cast of six in turn seized the chance to excel, sympathetically supported on keyboards by musical director Richard Healey.
Edward Simpson as Koko is the master of the patter song, bringing the house down with his list of those who would not be missed, including Nigel Farage and X factor finalists, whilst Rachel Lea-Gray, a gin-sodden Katisha, provided drama and power.
Artistic director Oliver Gray exploited his three-tier stage skilfully and his deft movement and energetic choreography, together with comic doubling-up of characters, particularly in the ensemble numbers, was at the heart of an always audible and entertaining show.
Sam Wright, an imposing Pooh Bah, Jenny Cullen a suitably skittish and tuneful Yum Yum and Illyria newcomer Stephanie Lyse all produced high-quality performances, with the loose-limbed Matthew Willis a likeable Nanki Poo.
Open air Gilbert and Sullivan is a rare theatrical treat and this performance which drew enthusiasts from all over the north of England will live long in their memory.