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Peter Cousens as Nanki-Poo sets us all a splendid example by apparently having left the Mikado's palace on a bike. I'd have given him even higher marks if it had been a penny-farthing. As a wandering minstrel, he sings as convincingly as he looks [watch and listen -- chapter 5, 10:45-11:50]. I take it the kindly Australians have done up the male chorus as remote replicas of W G Grace as a mark of sympathy for our cricketing failures and encouragement to do better. Even I used to open my schoolboy batting in the assurance I would at least take the shine off the ball and maybe snick a couple of balls past an astonished fielder either off or to leg.

The head coverings of Pooh-Bah (Gregory Yurisch). DVD screenshot © 1987 The Australian Opera
The head coverings of Pooh-Bah (Gregory Yurisch). DVD screenshot © 1987 The Australian Opera

The Pooh-Bah of Gregory Yurisich, Lord High Everything Else, is equipped with an ever-increasing mountain of head-coverings as he assures Nanki-Poo there is not the slightest chance of his marrying Yum-Yum, who is betrothed to the Lord High Executioner. Indeed their wedding is that very afternoon [watch and listen -- chapter 7, 22:29-23:41]. It is vexing indeed that Nanki-Poo has apparently been cycling for almost a month for love of Yum-Yum to no avail. But there is worse in store for the Executioner with his axe formidable enough to have done a century or two of duty at the London Tower. Since the Mikado has found him guilty of flirting, his first victim, short of a substitute, must be himself.

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Copyright © 1 April 2007 Robert Anderson, London UK

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