The Sorcerer

Date 11th March 2022
Society The Savoy Singers
Venue Camberley Theatre
Type of Production G&S
Director Duncan Hamilton
Musical Director Diana Vivian
Choreographer Duncan Hamilton
Producer Duncan Hamilton


Author: Gloria Smith

‘The Sorcerer’ is one of the less popular/staged G and S operettas and the music was unfamiliar to me except for ‘Now to the banquet we press’. The comprehensive ‘Story of the Sorcerer’ in your programme ensured that the audience understood the plot, even if it did apply to a totally different group of people than originally intended! Duncan Hamilton did a brilliant job on that front and as a stage director myself I can only imagine the hours that went into the total adaptation of the piece. As the various projections of TV programmes came up on the screen and the characters walked on stage I became more and more drawn into the show.

There was no doubting which characters the cast were representing. The costumes and wigs of course helped, but the individuals had clearly also studied the mannerisms and demeanour of their TV roles and entered into their portrayals with apparent ease and enjoyment.

The scene opened on the village green and continued through to the finale at the same location. The backcloth was attractive and there was good attention to detail in the props department. I enjoyed watching the two ladies preparing the tables and then buttering bread for the sandwiches for the cricket tea, whilst the residents of Dibberleigh gathered together for the occasion of Alexis and Aline’s betrothal.

Andrew Few was convincing as the wealthy businessman and he acted and sang well in the role. His son Alexis was confidently played by Matthew Cooke and as his betrothed Aline, Helen Clutterbuck, gave a first rate performance.

Karen Speight was particularly good as Dr Daly and Rachel Jones was certainly ‘to the Manor Born’.

Geoff Vivian had the Arkwright stutter off to a tee and Johanna Chamber’s vocal ability was notable in the role of Conville

Sarah Wenban and Jo Langdon had great fun as Edina and Patsy and gave masterly impersonations of the two characters, whilst the two Gladys’s, represented by Claire Brewster and Cara Bingham also did justice to their roles.

Samantha Johnson waddled around the stage convincingly as Mrs Coverall and as The Sorcerer/Dr Who, Chris Waters gave a super performance. He has a natural stage presence, is vocally sound and appears completely relaxed.

The story itself is a rather thin one, but because of the director's vision it was possible to get some really ‘interesting’ pairings after the potion had worked its magic. The two cross-over roles of Dr Daly and Conville worked really well in that respect too.

Diana Vivian controlled the 13 piece orchestra splendidly. The sound was well balanced and at no time did they overpower the soloists – a treat indeed!

The lighting was used to really good effect and the sound effects were good too.

There wasn’t a lot of dance movement for the company to begin with but as the piece progressed there was far more - the sprites number was really atmospheric and other chorus movement was well rehearsed and performed.

Costumes were most impressive and make-up was suitable for the different TV characters represented on stage.

Generally speaking the stage mikes gave enough amplification because the cast projected their voices well, but after the first act I moved to the back of the auditorium to try to find a warmer spot to sit - the air conditioning is fierce- and then it wasn’t so easy to hear one or two of the principals. Also I was unable to read the notices that came on stage in the ‘love me hate me’ song. These are two small negative points but worth mentioning I feel. 

The programme is interesting to read and easy to negotiate.