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Mike Leigh's thoroughly entertaining Biopic of W.S. Gilbert & Sir Arthur Sullivan; from the critical flop of their 1884 production Princess Ida to the career defining success of their finest Comic Opera The Mikado. Outstanding lead performances from Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner and sensitive direction from Leigh bring the world of the Theatre and life backstage beautifully into focus in this comedy/drama of finely drawn characters and fragile egos. The perfect accompaniment to Eden Court's live broadcast of English National Opera's new production of The Pirates of Penzance directed by award winning Director Mike Leigh.


British operetta writers Gilbert and Sullivan are one of the most notable odd couples in showbusiness history. And, thankfully, this celebration of their collaborative genius from writer/director Mike Leigh does them proud in a way the dignified Victorian duo would have thought their right and proper due. The newly knighted Arthur Sullivan (played by Allan Corduner), a musician, lecher and dandy, meets his literary match in William Schwenck Gilbert (Jim Broadbent), whose taste for the absurd extends to his librettos. But Sullivan thinks he is better than the whimsical Gilbert, and demands to go solo to devote himself to more serious music. Leigh uses the construction of The Mikado - considered one of Gilbert and Sullivan's finest works - to show that the pair's seemingly casual virtuosity was actually painstaking craft. Aside from the size of their egos, the two men were very different, and Leigh skilfully draws us in, piecing together a picture of their talents with warmth and enthusiasm.

Tom Hutchinson in Radio Times Film Guide

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