In Topsy-Turvy Mike Leigh, that master of contemporary British tragi-comedy, transports us back to 1880s London and the lives of those much-loved masters of comic opera, Gilbert and Sullivan. Leigh explores the collaboration of lyricist Gilbert, a complex individual childlessly married to a devoted wife and composer Sullivan, a brothel-hopping bon viveur with an American mistress. Having enjoyed a stream of successes, they abruptly suffer an unprecedentedly lukewarm press for their newest opus, Princess Ida. Owing impresario D'Oyly Carte a hit, the increasingly frustrated Gilbert finds Sullivan's ideas increasingly far-fetched and 'topsy-turvy'. Then, Gilbert's wife lures him to a London exhibition of Japanese culture, and he perceives the inspiration for The Mikado .