THE Jorvik Gilbert and Sullivan Company’s production of The Sorcerer is a treat.

The two-act opera, based on an earlier Gilbert story An Elixir Of Love, is a delicious satire on the class-based society in Victorian England. However, this courageous setting – 1915 and the height of the First World War - gives the production an extra political narrative.

After a fine, tender and vibrant overture – an orchestral shop window of musical goodies to come - we are introduced to the revolutionary idealist, Alexis Pointdextre, the son of a baronet.

Alexis (Stuart Roberts) is to be married to Aline (Fiona Bowman), as announced with a confident, rhythmically tight Ring Forth, Ye Bells. Love is, as they say, in the air: Constance (Georgie Martin) delivering a passionate When He Is Here, I Sigh With Pleasure and the local vicar, Dr Daly (Alex Schofield), singing a telling melancholic The Air Is Charged With Amatory Numbers.

Following a sweet, touching Chorus of Villagers, With Heart And With Voice, Bowman's Aline delivers a powerful Oh Happy Young Heat with courageous high notes. Then there is Sir Marmaduke (Thomas Newby) and Lady Sangazure (Louise Wyatt) singing a lovely duet Welcome Joy,Adieu To Sadness. What is needed, reveals Alexis, is a love-leveller to transcend and unite all classes ("without rank, age or fortune…’) in a passionate Love Feeds On Many Kinds Of Food, I Know.

A love potion is acquired from Mr Wells, a sorcerer’s firm in London. Mark Simmonds delivers a brilliant, spiky, staccato My Name Is John Wellington Wells. Indeed, his transformation into a David Leonard-style pantomime villain in the Incantation is a real joy.

What follows is A Midsummer Night’s Dream gone nuts. The potion is administered via a cup of tea, and the village falls asleep with the villagers falling in love with the first person they see on waking up.

The Second Act begins where the First Act had left off with strong musical performances throughout, but it is Simmonds who catches both the eye and ear in an outstanding performance.

The sets, costumes and direction by Lois Cross are excellent and musical director Matthew Collins conducts with both clarity and authority. A really enjoyable evening.


Jorvik Gilbert and Sullivan Company presents The Sorcerer at Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, tonight at 7.30pm and tomorrow at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Box office: 01904 623568, at or via email to