Could this cast of ‘gentlemen’ raise the Titanic?

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IT may seem a mission impossible but this month these men are forsaking household chores, their families and even golfing to plan their incredible coup.

They meet three, four and sometimes five times each week to plot their complex manoeuvres and learn their various roles. The task they have chosen is to improve on the record-breaking Titanic the Musical and raise, once more, the standard of Northern Irish amateur dramatics.

The men have been cast as “Gentlemen of Japan” in Portrush Music Society’s production of Hot Mikado, the musical comedy to be performed in the Riverside Theatre from April 27 to May 4.

This is a fast paced adaptation of what is widely acclaimed as Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular comedy, including all the requisite social critique and hilarious farce. The men, transformed in “Gangnam style” suits, must master a range of dance routines that reflect the popular dances of the 1940’s with elements of Jazz Tap, the Lindy Hop and Jitterbug whilst singing to a foot-tapping score of Jazz, Blues, Swing and Gospel numbers. Throughout, they are, of course, ably assisted by the hugely talented female members of the Society.

Last year’s show – Titanic the Musical – received wide acclaim for Portrush Music Society both locally and nationally. In June it won two awards from the Association of Irish Musical Societies (AIMS), for Best Musical Director (Richard Campbell) and Best Front of House, in competition with an amazing array of shows and societies from all over Ireland.

The show has also been nominated for two prestigious UK national awards from NODA – one for Best Show and the other in the Best Technical/Stage Management category. The outcome of the NODA adjudication is eagerly awaited by Society members but to be even nominated in these two classes is high praise indeed.

This year’s production is set in the fictionalised Japanese setting of Titipu, where the Mikado as Emperor (Harry Coates) has decreed that flirting is punishable by death.

The plot revolves around the beautiful maid Yum-Yum (Louise McClarty) and her various love interests which include betrothal to her guardian and hapless Lord High Executioner, Ko-Ko, played by Alan McClarty, and her passionate affection for the Emperor’s son Nanki-Poo, (Peter Olphert). The highly talented Helen Wilkinson plays the bloodthirsty vamp Katisha whose support for the Mikado’s unusual law must undergo a dramatic reversal.

Anyone who enjoyed last year’s show or those with a penchant for the glamour of the heyday of Hollywood Musicals, should contact the Riverside Theatre box office for tickets and further information by telephone 028 70 123 123 or online at