The Sorcerer

Date 6th May 2015
Society East Norfolk Operatic Society
Venue Maddermarket Theatre
Type of Production Musical (G and S)
Director Keith Swetman
Musical Director Ros Swetman
Choreographer Margaret Collingwood

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Author: Terry Rymer

This ‘Sorcerer’ conjured up a little bit of magic for ENOS. This ‘magic’ is evident in the wonderful and refreshingly enthusiastic involvement of the chorus for this show; they were superb throughout. Magic, also in its true sense, with sufficient mystery and some clever props trickery, when John Wellington Wells, aka ‘The Sorcerer’ (Clive Swetman) enters with his personalised ‘box of tricks’ and love potion or Philtre…a play on words much enjoyed by both authors and audiences alike… His was a mixture of stylish bluff and banter as he is encouraged by Alexis to use his ‘love’ philtre to create the situation not dissimilar to Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer Night Dream’, (you know, Titania and the Ass!). You didn’t have to be a fan of G and S to really enjoy this well crafted tale of true love, lost and then rekindled, as insecurity threatens to destroy the ‘perfect’ match between our two leading characters. Now I will not concentrate too much on Alexis (Martin Milnes), his contribution and exceptional tenor voice was truly, and no doubt unsurprisingly, superb…His performance I feel allowed his role partners to play against a true professional with absolute confidence and as such delivered a range of wonderful performances. As Aline we had Rachel Goodchild who was every inch the besotted betrothed and nicely posh love interest to Alexis. She matched his professionalism in each of her renderings from her intro in the Recit and Aria, Happy Young Heart, and particularly in Act 2 in the Trios and  Quintet. She clearly relished her feisty defence of her love for Alexis against his almost over zealous insistence for her to take the philtre (love potion) herself!

 A special mention for Constance (Rowan Perrow) who showed excellent singing talent and just the right amount of, almost awkward, coy ‘admiration’ for the considerably older Dr Daly (Jen Alexander), now here we had a young man playing his first G and S role and the phrase ‘duck to water’ comes to mind. His was a mature and convincing ‘comely’ role with just the right amount of tongue in cheek humour and singing which grew in confidence as his role in the plot developed; again we particularly enjoyed him in the Quintet in Act 2. This pair were superb and should be ones to watch as they progress to even bigger principal roles (remember when you saw them here!). Her mother Mrs Partlett (Teresa Clayton) was tasked with delivering the clue to the ‘new’ location, as she delivered a quite acceptable ‘Norfolk dialect’ as she attempts to encourage Dr Daly to reciprocate her daughter’s desires. The location clues were well integrated and added a nice local touch with perhaps some dubious ‘modern’ day references, (ok the audience laughed!).

Also offering experience and style were the ‘older’ potential lovers, but with hidden feelings for each other, Sir Marmaduke Pointdextra (Martin Dyer) and Lady Sangazure (Pat Tegerdine). Both well cast and provided a comfortable and reassuring under plot to the proceedings. Notary (Robin Richardson) was suitably troubled and confused with the sudden rush to matrimony as the villagers succumbed to the effects of the Sorcerers potion. (He needed a bigger wig though!).

I return to my accolade for the chorus who had much to do and added the extra touch of ‘magic’ making this show just that bit more entertaining for the audience and, I suspect, for them too! All of this with a well balanced orchestra under the energetic leadership of Ros Swetman. Plus an attractive set which was well considered for entrances and exits. An altogether first class show and a credit to first time Director (Keith Swetman); his previous ‘on stage’ experience paid dividends. Most enjoyable!