The problem is I don’t care for this type of music (“light opera”) – and there was a lot of it. Twenty minutes shy of three hours, and the music kept coming. Yet, it tugged at me nonetheless. Not too much, but a little. This is the story of Gilbert and Sullivan, and the run-up to their triumphant “The Mikado”. The rehearsals for the show were the best part of the film. The stagecraft, the musical preparations and rehearsals. If you have interest in the behind the scenes art of musical stagecraft, you’ll like this film. If you are a Gilbert and Sullivan fan, you’ll be in heaven.
The film is full of great characters, led by the incomparable Jim Broadbent as W. S. Gilbert. Gilbert is the ultimate Victorian gentleman. Opposite him is Allen Corduner as Arthur Sullivan, the musical genius. I would have loved this film had it not been so full of the (to me) insipid music of Gilbert and Sullivan. Hey. That’s just my taste and I have no problem with people who love this sort of thing.
Mike Leigh is an interesting director. You’d be hard pressed to think of a director working today who has such a wide ranging reptoire.