You wait ages for a Mikado to come along, then two turn up together.


English National Opera, The Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, WC2

You wait ages for a Mikado to come along, then two turn up together. In the multi-coloured corner is the traditional version by the Carl Rosa Opera Company and here, in dazzling white and black, is another English National Opera revival of Jonathan Miller's landmark modern production.

In fact it's outing number 12 for Miller's delightful grand hotel setting, complete with leaping bell-boys and tap-dancing chambermaids, which first opened for business in 1986. But has it stood the test of time as well as Gilbert and Sullivan's original material?

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Undoubtedly yes. This David Ritch revival is as witty and enjoyable as ever, joyously acted and stirringly sung - not least by the returning Francis McCafferty as the formidable and love-starved Katisha, left to sing the praises of her left elbow and shoulder blade. Richard Suart has made the role of Lord High Executioner Ko-Ko his own, his eagerly awaited "little list" updated to include sideswipes at errant MPs, David Beckham and even Nigella Lawson.

Robert Murray's Nanki-Poo and Sarah Tynan's Yum-Yum are a fine match, with Tynan's rendering of one of G&S's most beautiful songs, The Moon and I, quite moving.

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So, modern or traditional? Here, I think, the modern version definitely wins. This is great production, with fine attention to detail. Like the original, long may it continue to entertain. - KEITH ARCHER

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