CHESTERFIELD: G&S Society’s magical production of The Sorcerer

Rachael-Louisa Bray, Andrew Moore, Phil Bradley and Judith Hill in Chesterfield G&S Society's production of The Sorceror

Rachael-Louisa Bray, Andrew Moore, Phil Bradley and Judith Hill in Chesterfield G&S Society's production of The Sorceror

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Young love and romance lies at the heart of most Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and in none more so than The Sorcerer.

Young love and romance lies at the heart of most Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and in none more so than The Sorcerer.

It’s a tale of unlikely romantic pairings brought about by magical means, and sometimes even without it, and Chesterfield Gilbert and Sullivan Society have brought it to the Pomegranate this week.

It isn’t one of the most frequently performed of the G & S canon, but this experienced company injects plenty of fun into it, and the first night audience had a lot to enjoy.

Andy Moore’s fine tenor has become a familiar voice in the romantic lead slot; as idealistic Alexis Pointdexter he has a chance to flex his comic muscles as well. His extravagant protestations of adoration and half-baked political theories try the patience of his lady love Aline, played with fraying tolerance and a pretty soprano by Rachael-Louisa Bray.

In contrast to Alexis’s grand gestures comes Sir Marmaduke his father and Lady Sangazure Aline’s mother (Phil Bradley and Judith Hill), whose buttoned-up approach to love have kept them apart for decades.

Meanwhile Constance the housekeeper’s daughter (Julie Currey) is in love with the vicar (Peter Flint), a confirmed old bachelor.

Enter a youthful John Wellington Wells, well-spoken family sorcerer and purveyor of love potions. Edward Jowle, in his first role with the company and a consummate performer, is in his element. His golden voice takes the patter songs in his stride, and he wields his love potion with the flourish of a young Paul Daniels.

It is up to the chorus and supporting players to show the magic at work, and there are certainly some ill-assorted romantic pairings – and not all pairs; some of the women have to share a man. Constance and the elderly Notary raise a few laughs, and haughty Sir Marmaduke and his cosy housekeeper Mrs Partlet (Penny Fairs) make an odd couple.

But there is more comedy to be extracted from the situation than they find. The highlight is a comic double act between an adoring Lady Sangazure and a cowering John Wellington Wells, culminating in mussed clothing and heavy breathing.

Everything is put right in the end, of course – isn’t it always? – but not before a wealth of confusions and mix-ups and some of Gilbert and Sullivan’s jolliest songs.

LYNNE PATRICK