Some things just aren't meant to be. Call it fate, divine intervention or just plain back luck, it seems that PHEOS and their production of The Sorcerer had a curse on it. Late changes to the director and an even later change to the leading man meant that the show (not the best in the Gilbert & Sullivan repertoire) failed to conjure up much magic.

As a story, The Sorcerer does display symptoms of fatigue and its melancholy beginning can drag even the most optimistic of G&S buffs into a chasm of hopelessness if not handled carefully.

Given the time constraints, the last minute direction team of Andrew Taylor and Trish Lewis sensibly opted for a damage limitation strategy by choosing a safe and traditional interpretation.

Despite their endeavours, the show plodded along with prosaic musical direction from Ian Bradley while the under-strength chorus struggled to make noteworthy impact. However, the principals fared better with some decent contributions to add a little sparkle to the evening.

Late replacement Mick Wilson gave a remarkably assured performance. His obvious experience brought stability to the cast and his duet with the sweet voiced Aline (Jennie Campbell) was charming.

An animated Stephen Roe had an opportunity for fun as the lovelorn Dr Daly, while the sorcerer himself (Jevan Morris) was dealt a bad hand with over-fussy props and choreography hampering his showcase solo. No magic wand was going to save this Sorcerer; it just wasn't in their destiny.

Fleur Wright