The singing ranged from more-than-satisfactory to superb, for which the Music Director Bruce Miller must be given full credit. The star of the show was, without question, David Kamalic* as John Wellington Wells. His diction was superb, timing impeccable and stage presence remarkable (particularly for a freshman). Mary Finn brought a good deal more energy to the part of Lady Sangazure that is usually seen and Ryan Caveney played Dr. Daly as a more human (rather than stuffy) individual than usual. He has a wonderful resonant baritone, but does need to work on his dynamic modulation to get some gradations between piano and forte.
Suzy Glazer and Krishan Oberoi made an excellent pair of Aline and Alexis, demonstrating the kind of singing voices which indicated some professional training and were the only 'pair' who seemed to work together reasonably well as a team. Susan Rushing made an appropriately plaintive Constance while Randi Kestin as Mrs. Partlett was a bit too self-conscious of the humor of the part, too young and as a soprano, really miscast, to be terribly effective. The chorus was thin (only nine members the night I saw the production even though 13 were listed in the program) but carried itself with excellent energy.
So what was 'wrong?' The performance which I saw (opening night) was slow. It took two-and-one half hours which for a show normally as short as The Sorcerer is unacceptable, even though it didn't really drag. The problems which I could identify seemed to be due to a lack of appropriate direction. The 'old' characters - Dr. Daly, Lady Sangazure, Sir Marmaduke - didn't contrast with their offspring. Several audible comments from the audience on the first entry of Sir Marmaduke and Alexis asking 'which was which' point the problem: no wigs, no adequate make-up. Several of the performers were clearly very inexperienced on stage as shown by the typical problem: they didn't know what to do with their hands! The director did not even bother to give them the usual props for their roles. Aline and Alexis were sitting on the 'stage' for their "filter-philtre" dialog, which was extended for several extra rounds a la "orphan-often" from Pirates. It didn't work since they were so close to the front that they could be seen only by the first row of the audience, not those further back in the bleachers.
There were a few nice, original touches, for example having Dr. Daly 'reading' a lesson to several maidens in the background which Constance was singing her first act lament, having an extra chorus woman trying to find a mate in the second act, chasing after every man (although it was a good trick to keep her away from Dr. Daly.) Overall, the impression was of a production which was understaged and underrehearsed. A Pity, because I don't think that the group knows how good it can be if it puts in the utmost effort. MIT G&S is doing Utopia, Limited for its spring show. If maximum effort is applied, it can be a great show; if not, an unfamiliar show like Utopia can be a disaster. I wish them well.
J. Donald Smith