The Sorcerer

Date 19th November 2021
Society Bath G & S Society
Venue The Mission Theatre, Bath
Type of Production G&S
Director Juliette Coad
Musical Director Tobias Lazenbury
Choreographer Juliette Coad, Delia Lee

Report

Author: Matthew Heaton

:Any observation made by the reviewer can only be based on what he sees at the performance in question.  The reviewer may have received information in advance of the performance and it is inevitable that his assessment will be effected by that knowledge.

The N.O.D.A. Representative’s intention is to give an objective critique of the overall production and in particular the performance viewed.  It should be remembered that any review of this nature can only be objective as far as the techniques used during the performance observed.  Any criticisms expressed may not have been valid at other performances, and are only made to encourage higher standards in Amateur Theatre.

It is hoped that the audience’s appreciation of your efforts will have given everyone a lift and encouraged you to greater achievements in the future and that the observations made by the reviewer will prove helpful in improving future productions.

 

This is my fifth time reporting on a Bath Gilbert & Sullivan Society production and I’m pleased to say they continued the trend of never failing to deliver! I’ve not seen ‘The Sorcerer’ live before and was excited to be seeing what is the 3rd Collaboration between W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan as this was their first opera to use all the major character types and typical range of songs that would appear in their later collaborations. The production had moved the time period forward from Victorian England to the 1950s but in all other aspects was performed traditionally.

The set layout was open and created immediate interest as you entered the auditorium – with the audience positioned on three sides on raked seating looking down on to the set on the floor. This created real atmosphere and interest, with the close proximity to the set, the cast and the whole ‘Ploverleigh’ Village Hall feel. The fixed set looked simple but was cleverly constructed to be very effective. The movement and choreography of the cast (both solos and chorus) to ensure positioning and staging equally to all three sides, whilst maintaining action that could be seen by all, was expertly done. In general, the whole production had a really nice pace to it, rolling from scene from scene without feeling too rushed or too ponderous.

The lighting was very atmospheric, well-cued and well-lit throughout the whole production. The projection used for the Spirits Incantation was excellent in terms of both quality and application and it worked really well. The sound was good too, allowing the un-amplified voices to carry well and everything could be heard, even in the chorus numbers. The music in the production was excellent too and well performed by the orchestra –never over-powering the voices of the performers and only enhancing them. The show itself was very well sung by Principals and Chorus. The position of the band and Musical Director is the compromise made for the staging but overall this was managed really well.

The decoration of items on the top table looked amazing and all props seemed to be in place, of a good standard and detail and matching the style and the period, The costumes, particularly for the ladies were bright, fun, of good quality and very much in keeping with the production and period. Overall, this combined well with the hair and make-up to create a terrific and coherent look for the production.

The show ensured the chorus were busy and worked extremely hard in their movement and their acting, enhancing but never overshadowed any of the Principal work. In terms of the principals:

Overall, this was an excellent production of The Sorcerer and another very strong performance from Bath Gilbert and Sullivan Society. The setting was clever and creative, well-choreographed and very immersive throughout. There was lots of content and for all of the performers, so very few opportunities were missed to make a great account of one of the least well-known Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas.  It was an absolute delight to sit and watch it.  Thank you to everyone at Bath Gilbert & Sullivan Society on another excellent production and for the hospitality extended again. I look forward to your future productions!