The Sorcerer is one of the less well known of the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, but is in fact a wee gem and full of some of the loveliest music. Kirkcaldy Gilbert & Sullivan Society did Sullivan proud with a set of very strong Principals and a good backing chorus.
By moving the setting to Scotland in the late 18th century, Robin Ozog, as Director, again demonstrated his great vision for stage setting and production. The extra little twists with the Punch and Judy stall, the haggis at the banquet, the arrival of Rabbie Burns and the address to the haggis were all very well received by the audience. Bruce Davies, well known locally, who came on stage and gave the address to the haggis, was a great touch of theatre. The slow motion scene with the teacups was very effective to watch.
And… of course… Dr Who! Such a clever idea to make the Sorcerer the Doctor, complete with striped scarf and accompanied by sounds of the tardis and other relevant references. Again the audience warmed to the idea, and Robin Ozog has to be congratulated on his vision.
The Sorcerer, J W Wells, was played by two Principals. Colin Stubbs on three performances, and Niall Aitken, making his debut in a main principal part at the Sat Matinee. Both sang their way valiantly through the great patter song and although all the pyrotechnics did not fire properly in the incantation scene, both coped admirably and performances were strong.
The Sorcerer has one of Gilbert’s best drawn characters, the soulful Dr Daly, played masterfully by Andrew Sim . His fine tenor voice suited the part admirably.
Jilly Martin was delightfully cast as the lovesick Constance and sang beautifully in her sweet soprano voice, fitting the part very well. Her falling for the lecherous, deaf old Notary, provided a particularly hilarious scene. Robert Peebles as the Notary, was excellent, and successfully maintained this image throughout the show.
Once again, Kirkcaldy audiences were thrilled by Linda Milne’s beautiful soprano voice in the part of Aline, and her libretto was delivered in a fine Fife accent to good comic effect. A newcomer to the society, although highly experienced elsewhere, Neil French played the part of Alexis in a fine rich tenor voice. They complimented each other admirably.
Robin Ozog playing Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre and Elaine Young as Lady Sangazure were a delight to watch. Both consummate professionals, their roles in both singing and acting were superb.
Kathleen Brown acted and sang well in the part of Mrs Partlet. She was well cast in this lovely comic role.
Mention has to be made of the two young people, Flora played by Caitlin Truscott, and Charlie, played by Daniel Ferguson. These two were very well prepared and carried off their parts with ease. They added yet another dimension to this excellent production.
Musically there were times when the chorus tended to get a little over enthusiastic, but were well checked and brought back in line by the Society’s musical Director, John Howden, who makes a welcome return. At points throughout the performance the microphones seemed to give some problems, which was a pity, as this distracted from some very fine performances.
The set was very effective, costumes colourful, and all in keeping with late 18th century Scotland, This was a very entertaining production, much enhanced by the clever twists and turns inserted by the Director and presented by a talented group of people. We look forward to Iolanthe in March 2014.
Due to other commitments I was only able to attend the Dress Rehearsal of this show. However, it showed all the signs of being a huge hit!
Robin Ozog, whom I greatly admire as a G&S director, had woven his own special magic. Setting the production in Fife, we even had Rabbie Burns visiting on route to Anstruther. A further intrigue suggested that John Wellington Wells may even have been a Time Lord as Dr Who. This very much brought the show right up to date.
Nothing, however, took away from traditional G&S values. Lighting and special effects by John Allen ensured that visually the show was very attractive and the Incantation scene was a highlight. It was good to see the baton back in the capable hands of John Howden who ensured that musical standards were high.
Robin Ozog handled the role of Sir Marmaduke most effectively with his Fife accent, with Neil French a believable Alexis. Andrew Sim impressed as Dr Daly as did Robert Peebles as the Notary. Colin Stubbs got to grips with the role of John Wellington Wells, though this was to be performed by Niall Aitken at the matinee. Elaine Young was stately and imposing as Lady Sangazure and Linda Milne sang beautifully as Aline. Kathleen Brown shone as Mrs Partlet and Jilly Martin impressed as Constance. Flora and Charlie, the children, were ably played by Caitlin Truscott and Daniel Ferguson. This was a lovely show to watch, performed so well and with some many special touches.
Well done to Kirkcaldy G&S Society on notching up another fine production.