(Harrow County School production, 1969)
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Another Summer term was almost at its natural end -- and yet it was amazing to see how many people leapt to help Mr. Haley and the Music Society in their presentation of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Sorcerer. The combined talents of parents, stage staff, costume and make-up departments, singers and musicians resulted in a lively an enjoyable production.
A very striking portrayal of Mrs. Partlet -- little old lady complete with country accent -- came from Andrew Findon. the audience did not realize that at one point he disappeared from the stage in order to play a flute obbligato. The appealing presence of Irving Boxer as Constance was complemented by his convincing acting and pleasant voice. As for Mr. Tyler, his expert singing and acting not only gave the audience the greatest pleasure, but set in rehearsals the highest standard for others to follow. In his first appearance, Jacek Strauch as Sir Marmaduke succeeded well in his portrayal of an elderly man, though he and Gordon Jones were a trifle generous with their gestures and feet movements. We are grateful for the splendid tenor voice of Jones in the past two operas. After his Alexis we wonder how we can possibly replace him.
To play Aline we had a splendid actor in young Mark Gilbert, last year's Ariel, whose treble voice must surely have made its last appearance. His carriage was superb and he reminded one irresistibly of his brother, Stephen, in H. M. S. Pinafore. Lady Sangazure was played by John Navratil and he managed the part of a supercilious member of the Upper Class most convincingly. He has now returned to the U.S.A.
Finally, the part of John Wellington Wells (dealer in magic and spells) was taken by Philip Barnett. In him we certainly have a worthy successor to Nigel Rogers. He played the part to perfection and with absolute confidence -- even to the traditional card trick. Successful too was his final descent to Hades in the capable hands of the Stage Staff, in a lift shaft specially constructed under the direction of Mr. Mees. they also managed a highly disturbing kettle for the magic charms.
the opera was beautifully accompanied by Mr. Waller and young Philip Harratt. Its Producer and Musical were Mr. O'Donoghue and Mr. Haley respectively, and they gave us a show that was lively, colourful, musically satisfying and, except for certain touching pieces of pure pathos, full of an exuberant sense of humour.