James Berlyn Dives in to Gilbert and Sullivan

JAmes BerlynJames Berlyn, Perth local and one of Australia’s most intriguing performers will be bringing his exceptional talents to the Regal Theatre for the Gilbert and Sullivan classic, The Mikado.

“I feel like it’s a chance to avenge high school music theatre demons.” He says of his role as Koko, the Lord High Executioner.

“He’s pretty funny, he’s deeply flawed. He gets to sing a bit, he gets to grapple with his own illusions of power. Oh look, it’s just really nice to be in a big cast, and to work collaboratively. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve done such a large text-based piece, and that’s pretty cool.”

Berlyn jokingly blames his starring role entirely on the show’s director, Mark Barford. “In fact it’s all Mark Barford’s fault because I made a piece last year called ‘The Crash Course’ which is actually going to be on before ‘The Mikado’ at the Subiaco Independent Theatre Festival from the second to the twelfth of April and that’s a solo show that I made that I’m very proud of and he saw that show and went ‘Oh, you’re funny, you should come and do this show’ and I said ‘I’m really not funny’, or at least, ‘don’t ask me to be funny, it may happen.’ But you know, I work in theatre and I don’t audition for things because I don’t get work from auditions, I get work when people see me work and he said ‘I’ve seen you work, come and sing a song.’ So I went and sang a song and now I find myself having to learn the lyrics and music of ten songs which is a really exciting challenge.”

Berlyn says the upcoming production of the 1885 operetta, which has taken inspiration from elements of anime culture, is sure to be a thrilling night out. “It’s pretty clever, the way the characters are drawn and the circumstances they find themselves in is amusing and there’s a lot of very singable music. It’s pleasing on the ear when done well, and an enjoyable night in the theatre. It’s one of the classics of music theatre, I think it’s their most popular of all the operettas that Gilbert and Sullivan wrote. It’s a bit of a classic.”

The Mikado is playing at The Regal Theatre from 7-10 May. Tickets available from Ticketek.

Sophie Joske

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