|Date||27th March 2014|
|Society||Wolverton G & S Society|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Musical Director||Mike Croft|
Author: Jenny Chandler
Patience is one of the less performed Gilbert and Sullivan operettas although it was very popular when it opened in 1881 probably because Gilbert had turned his satirical eye to the ‘in vogue’ craze for aesthetics in the world of the arts. Those who subscribed to it were utter devotees but to outsiders it seemed self-indulgent, empty and faddish and it was easy to ridicule which is what Gilbert did providing much amusement for the patrons of all things Gilbert and Sullivan. Sir Arthur Sullivan’s Score, while not as memorable as some of his work has some beautiful music within it.
Although the aesthetic movement has passed into history I believe that there are still parallels today in the world of the arts which makes the show more relevant today than it might first appear.
The story revolves around Bunthorne, a posturing poet, who is loved by all the local village maidens but whose heart belongs to Patience, the milkmaid, who has never loved until Archibald Grosvenor, another poet and childhood friend turns up but as he turns out to be perfect Patience rejects him in favour of Bunthorne. The village maidens transfer their affections to Grosvenor (with the exception of Lady Jane who remains devoted to Bunthorne). Meanwhile the local troop of Dragoon Guards are desperately trying various ploys to regain the affections of their ladies. All is finally settled to everyone’s satisfaction except perhaps Bunthorne himself.
Paula Fraser’s Patience was a really feisty character while Graham Mitchell (Bunthorne) Graham Healy (Grosvenor) and Cath Bromley (Lady Jane) made the most of their roles and sang with great confidence. They were well supported by all the other society members playing the smaller parts. Hut, for me, the main highlights of the whole evening were firstly, the ladies chorus with their opening number ‘Twenty lovesick Maidens We’ which was superbly sung with excellent tonal quality – congratulations to Mike Croft on achieving such a beautiful, balanced sound. And secondly, there is usually a surprise package along the way in a Graham Breeze production and this came with the appearance of the gentleman’s chorus not attired as Dragoon Guards but as the Dragoon Guards rugby team who performed an admirable haka. Great fun!!
The sets, lighting and costumes had all been carefully thought-out and the backstage crew worked well together and kept the show moving at a good pace. Finally it was lovely to see and hear a full orchestra accompanying the whole evening. Well done to everyone involved on providing a great evening’s entertainment.