RECREATING one of Gilbert and Sullivan's best known and most celebrated works are the talented Exeter choir St David's Players.
The Mikado, their 50th production, is a light-hearted comedy for all the family about the fictional town of Titipu in Japan.
It is being staged at Exeter's Barnfield Theatre from Tuesday, October 8, to Saturday, October 12, and tells the story of Nanki-Poo who has banished himself from the little town of Titipu. Nanki-Poo, it seems, has fallen in love with a beautiful young lady called Yum-Yum but she is engaged to be married to her guardian, the tailor Ko-Ko.
However, when Nanki-Poo hears that Ko-Ko has been condemned to death for the capital crime of flirting, he hastily returns to Titipu, only to learn that Ko-Ko has not only been granted a reprieve, but has been promoted to the post of lord high executioner.
Apparently, those in power, wishing to slow down the rash of executions, reason that since Ko-Ko was next in line for execution, he can't cut off anyone else's head until he cuts off his own.
The Mikado, however, soon takes notice of the lack of executions in Titipu and decrees that if no executions take place within the time of one month, the city shall be reduced to the status of a village.
Ko-Ko, desperate to avoid cutting off his own head, vows to find a substitute, and as luck would have it, just at that moment, Nanki-Poo wanders onto the stage determined to take his own life rather than live life without his beloved Yum-Yum…
St David's Players was formed late in 1969 by members of the choir of St David's Church, Exeter, and specialise in the works of Gilbert and Sullivan.
This year's performance will help raise money for Force cancer charity.
The musical director is Nicky Perry whose first involvement with St David's Players was as a schoolgirl, complete with wig and kimono in the 1981 production of… The Mikado.
The director is Jane May who returns to St David's Players for her ninth production. In 2004 Jane played Katisha in the production of, you guessed it, The Mikado.
On a different note, Steve Jehu, who was part of the team that won the silver medal for England in the gymnastics in the men's artistic all-around team event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, is one of the Samurai Warriors, along with Dan Iley and Tim Champion.
Tickets for the show, starting at 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm, cost from £10. Call 01392 270891 or visit www.barnfieldtheatre.org.uk
Sidmouth Arts Club Operatic Society is also staging its version of The Mikado at the town's Manor Pavilion on the same dates as the Exeter show from October 8 to 12.
A fun twist has been organised by members of both groups with more than 20 people planning on watching both shows on the Saturday, starting in Sidmouth at the matinee at 2.30pm, followed by fish and chips before arriving for the Exeter show. An invitation to join them is being extended to all theatre-goers. Tickets for the Sidmouth show cost £14. Call 01395 514413.