I'd like to start with a display of my staggering ignorance.
Here's the sum total of my knowledge about Gilbert and Sullivan
before seeing this movie:
- There were two men called
Gilbert and Sullivan
- They worked together to
create a number of operettas.
- One of those operettas was
called "The Mikado".
- In "The
Flintstones", Fred and Barney belonged to the Loyal
Order of Water Buffalo, whose head was called "The
Grand Poo-bah." I believe that is a reference to
"The Mikado" which contained a character of the
- The word "operetta"
is often the solution to the clue "Gilbert and
Sullivan's musical contributions" in the Globe &
Mail's Saturday crossword puzzle (it was used for 2 weeks
running last month).
Two university degrees and over thirty years of good, solid
book-learning went into the accumulation of these five points. My
younger readers would be good to mark them well.
After seeing the film, I feel confident on a couple of other
6. Mike Leigh is a big G&S fan.
7. Jim Broadbent is one of the most underappreciated
actors. (He plays Gilbert).
8. Such meticulous attention to detail in sets and
costumes I have not seen in ages and ages.
9. Anyone who is themselves involved in the theatre will
love this film.
Unfortunately, I do not fall into the category in #9 above. Or
#6 for that matter. And so, while somewhat entertaining, the film
was a bit of a disappointment for me, expecting as I was, two
hours of the unflinching sort of character study that is the meat
and potatoes of his earlier films. Instead, "Topsy
Turvy" relies heavily on spectacle and gives you quite a bit
of the Mikado itself. Which is fine if you're #6 or #9, but
otherwise, it left me craving a screening of "Naked" or
"Laughter, tears, curtain."
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