It’s off to Japan at The Courtyard this week as Hereford Gilbert & Sullivan Society present the ever-popular Mikado until Saturday.

Choosing to set the farcical story of the Lord High Executioner Ko Ko, the ‘wandering minstrel’ Nanki Poo, and the object of their affections, Yum Yum, in Japan, simultaneously appealed to a late 19th century audience who, through recently opened trading, had been introduced to all things Japanese, and lent a thinly veiled disguise to their satirical examination of British bureaucracy. And this production ensures that the satire is brought up to date, with the libretto tweaked to ensure that current political issues were aired.

The society is blessed with some great voices – professional violinist (and new G&S Society musical director) Hannah Roper as Yum Yum and Guildhall-educated Russell Painter as Nanki Poo outstanding – and a thoroughly engaging patter man in Alan Durman, whose physicality and comic timing ensured the laughs came thick and fast, especially in “As some day it may happen/I’ve got a little list”. This proved especially popular with its local references – ‘the road to nowhere’ was greeted with particular glee. Jim Smith, too, as Pooh-Bah, secured a good share of the laughter with a wonderfully credible performance as the official whose responsibilities encompassed everything from Lord High Justice to Archbishop …

As Katisha, Gill Haslam, also proved her comic talent, notably in her duet with Alan Durman as Ko Ko as he attempts to persuade her to marry him and let Nanki Poo follow his heart and marry Yum Yum.

Add a strong supporting cast who delivered the ensemble with energy and confidence and Hereford Gilbert & Sullivan Society gave us a production of great charm and, of course, some instantly familiar numbers – with Three Little Maids a highlight, sung beautifully by Hannah Roper, Emily Prosser and Fleur Berry-Jones.

The Mikado runs until Saturday at The Courtyard. To book, call the box office on 01432 340555 or visit