Hilarity and happily ever after
at Talbot Theatre
I'M A DANCING FOOL. The cast of Gilbert and Sullivan's production of The Sorcerer tango around the stage. The play starts today and runs through Jan. 25.
"True love is the source of every earthly joy" or so says one of the characters in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Sorcerer.
The Sorcerer, a rarely-performed comic opera set in Victorian England in the l870s, is typical Gilbert and Sullivan fare. Light-hearted, predictable plots and happily-ever-after endings are the order of the day. Two young betrothed lovers, Alexis (David Curry) and Aline (Natalie Ellul), are so in love they must share their joy.
They want the entire village to experience the joy of true love, so they enlist the help of a sorcerer (Fred Turner) whose comical knowledge of magic is reminiscent of the old Bewitched TV series. The sorcerer's help provides the drama that moves the plot along. Meanwhile, comic mayhem ensues for the whole town as the people find love in all the wrong places.
Fifty per cent of the performers in this show are Western students, including the two leads who are perfectly suited to comic opera. In fact, David Curry and Natalie Ellul reminded me of the old Nelson Eddy/Jeannette MacDonald movies. Armageddon could be happening around them and they just keep on singing! Such wide-eyed innocence make Ellul born to be a Gilbert and Sullivan heroine. Both Ellul and Curry sing with a vocal range and honesty that complement the uniformly good cast.
With the choreography, attractive costumes and eye-pleasing set, director Elizabeth Van Doorne and musical director Charles Baxter have presented an enjoyable musical experience.
The fact the show hasn't been done locally since l973 provides an unusual presentation for Londoners. Viewers can expect the unexpected.
The Sorcerer would be an excellent introduction to Gilbert and Sullivan. The opera is not only written in English but the diction and projection of the singers in this production is excellent.
The Sorcerer offers a pleasurable experience for any audience, just as long as is not taken too seriously.