Music and Musicians. The Sunday Times 1898 September 25 3938: 6, col. 4, pgphs. 2-4 [unsigned review]



    How time flies! When "The Sorcerer" and "Trial by Jury" were first revived at the Savoy, Mr. Gilbert's "young lady of fifteen" suposing her to be still in existence was only a year old. It is reasonable, therefore, to assume that to her and all of her generation the present revival will afford the equivalent of a genuine novelty, and I hope that Mr. D'Oyly Carte will reap the full benefit of a shrewd managerial move liberally carried out. The older patrons of his establishment ought certainly to be glad to renew acquaintance with two favourite specimens of Gilbert and Sullivan opera that time seems powerless to rob of their pristine freshness and fragrance.  Comparisons will be made, of course. Some will say that George Grossmith, Rutland Barrington, and Richard Temple were an imitable trio, and that "The Sorcerer" without them cannot possibly be like the original "Sorcerer" of the Opera Comique days. But here I for one shall immediately join issue, and declare that Walter Passmore, Henry A. Lytton, and Jones Hewson are so little, if at all, inferior to their distinguished predecessors that the humour of Mr. Gilbert's creations and the fascination of Sir Arthur Sullivan's music lose absolutely nothing in their hands.



    Mr. Gilbert has made a few alterations in the dialogue and mise en scène of "The Sorcerer," but practically everything is the same as in 1884, when the opera was revised by both author and composer. Of the cast which then appeared, Miss Rosina Brandram alone remains at the Savoy to renew, "en vraie grande dame," her unapproachable assumption of Lady Sangazure. This is as perfect in its way as ever. Wholly excellent, too, is Miss McAlpine's embodiment of Mrs. Partlet, the pew-opener; it reminds me exactly of the quaint original of Miss Everard. Miss Ruth Vincent, as Aline, was too nervous to do herself justice on Thursday; it was a pity she could not borrow some of the assurance and dash of the new Alexis, Mr. Robert Evett, who, however, may be counselled to use greater restraint in the use of his undoubtedly fine tenor voice. The rôle of the charity girl, Constance, is scarcely in Miss Emmie Owen's line, but to so intelligent an artist no part can come amiss. In the grotesque incantation scene Mr. Passmore is extremely diverting, and Mr. Lytton obtains the reward of industry by the effect that he makes with his own flageolet obbligato in the second of the Vicar's songs. Altogether the performance leaves behind a delightful sense of smoothness and efficiency.


    Dear old "Trial by Jury" once more furnishes the concluding section of a most agreeable musical evening. I do not remember a more engaging Plaintiff than Miss Isabel Jay a pretty girl with a pretty voice or a more truly forensic Judge than Mr. H. A. Lytton, and really it seemed the most natural thing in the world for them to pair off at the end. Mr. Cory James as the Defendant and Mr. Jones Hewson as the Counsel are both capital, and Mr. Passmore cuts some very whimsical capers as the Usher. Needless to add that the Savoy chorus fairly revel in their duties as bridesmaids and jurymen, helping to carry the clever travesty through with the buoyancy and "snap" which it so essentially requires. Both pieces are conducted with original ability and judgment by Mr. François Cellier, than whom no one has the true traditions of Savoy comic opera more completely at his finger-tips. To Mr. Cellier, as well as to Mr. Gilbert and Mr. D'Oyly Carte, are due the honours of this singularly successful revival, and from the cordial warmth with which recognition thereof was made on Thursday I should imagine the present bill will not require alteration for many months to come.
 

 

transcribed by Helga J. Perry, 6 April 2001