Mock Opera

Gilbert and Sullivan flick salutes spot-on Victorian subversives

What if Lennon and McCartney had parted ways before Revolver? Smith and Wesson before the .357 Magnum? Gilbert and Sullivan before The Mikado?

Wait. Gilbert and who? Before the what? So it goes for the great British comic-operatic team of W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan, who were once bigger than The Beatles and hotter than Dirty Harry’s handgun thanks to ageless, Victorian-era wonders like Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance, and H.M.S. Pinafore.

The Mikado was their masterpiece, one that very nearly didn’t get made. Mike Leigh’s sublimely entertaining film Topsy-Turvy shows why, and how, it was conceived, while capturing the veddy-proper tone of the times and exploring the ways in which Gilbert and Sullivan subverted their society’s mores. Spot-on, chaps!

If you don’t know your Titipu from your Yum-Yum, check out the free screening of Leigh’s 1999 effort.


Sun., Aug. 24, 1 p.m., 2008
 
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