For those who figured they would never hear a Victorian operetta singing the praises of palak paneer, Lyric Theatre’s Bollywood adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Sorcerer, playing Thursday through Saturday at the Montgomery Theatre, satisfies that obscure urge. The Sorcerer is a classic, though lesser-known, mainstay in the Gilbert and Sullivan repertoire.
First performed in London in 1877, The Sorcerer tells the story of the impending marriage of a rich and happy young couple, Alexis and Aline. Alexis, ever the romantic and resolute in his belief that love can solve all of society’s ills, hires John Wellington Wells, “a dealer in magic and spells,” and his powerful love potion. What follows is a comedy of errors, in which Alexis learns that love is best left to its own mysterious devices.
The story and music remain the same at Lyric Theatre, but details like names, the setting and a few lyrics have been changed to take the characters to Victorian colonial India. Instead of Alexis Pointdextre and Aline Sangazure, we follow Alexis Balishankar and Aline Balrampoor; instead of petticoats and top hats, the cast members don airy, brightly colored and richly textured clothing. It’s a sight to see, especially during the dance numbers.
“The adaptation gives the story a more earthy feel,” says Linda Kessel Solis, who plays Lady Balrampoor. “It allows the characters to be more sensual in a way that a traditional Victorian culture would not.”
Thursday through Saturday 8pm, Sunday, 2pm
$11 to $36
Montgomery Theater, San Jose