Last night I went to Wolf Trap to see the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players do The Mikado. I have to admit that I've always thought this a somewhat overrated piece and the production reminded me of why. The plot is no sillier than any other Gilbert and Sullivan operetta and there is plenty of fine music. But it lends itself to excessive tinkering with the libretto in the interests of modernization. I don't mind some topical references, but there is really no need to completely rewrite "I've Got a Little List" and "A More Humane Mikado." And, really, is there any reason to insert "Sony" and "Toyota" and the like into the lyrics for "Mi-Ya-Sa-Ma" other than a cheap laugh?
Pooh-bah is a part that is actually designed for overacting. I'm not a huge fan of physical comedy to begin with and I find that overdoing his attempts to sit on the ground just add to the length without enhancing the production. (On the plus side, I thought that Louis Dell'Ava did a fine job of singing the part.) I also found the bit with Ko-Ko's attempts to carry the axe to be overdone.
Despite the flaws, the show was still enjoyable. If the music isn't as good as, say, The Gondoliers well, frankly, what is? And most of the performances were fine. I want to particularly note Melissa Attebury as Pitti-Sing, who managed to give that character more personality than is often the case.