Topsy-Turvy is a movie filmed with sophistication and actorly style. It targets a niche audience numbering in the millions: Gilbert & Sullivan fans. The film skips back to the 19th century, when the mythic operetta duo was suffering from a lack of inspiration. Director Mike Leigh and a talented cast pull off actors playing actors quite well, from behind-the-scenes small talk to rehearsals and performances. Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner portray Gilbert and Sullivan.
When Gilbert's wife (Lesley Manville) takes him to a Japanese exhibition, the artist receives stereotypical 'inspiration' from the Orient and brainstorms The Mikado. Topsy-Turvy zooms in on the ups and downs of getting this work off the ground. Musical interludes will be welcome to G&S fans and those with patience. For full enjoyment, some sympathy or interest in the famous pair is needed; if you've got that, it's a sure winner.