Reviewed by Richard Lane
The comic opera Patience by Gilbert and Sullivan is a satire on the aesthetic movement of the 1870’s in England. It seems also to be ridiculing vanity, and perhaps even romantic love.
As in all G and S operas the plot, is tricky. The ladies have fallen out of love with their Dragoon Guards and are instead smitten with Bunthorne, an aesthetic poet.The dear sweet little milkmaid Patience, has never loved anyone and eventually Bunthorne admits his aestheticism is a complete hoax. Bunthorne’s plot to curse his opponent Grosvenor and make him into an “ordinary man”backfires . In the end the girls get their men and Patience gets Grosvenor.
Director Maria Davis uses the open, minimalistic set well to allow for the big crowd scenes, although it is occasionaly static in stage movement.
It is noted that Patience is Danielle Ruggiero-Prior’s introduction to musical direction and she does herself proud with her nine piece orchestra.
There is some excellent ensemble singing from both the Dragoon Guards and also the “young” ladies.
Acting honours of the night go to experienced SALOS performer Greg Anderson who plays fake aesthete Grosvenor with inventive comic fun. Sharing this is Jane Feast who plays Lady Jane with an acute sense of comic timing and the use of her magnificent, powerful voice. Kendall Geisler plays the sweet Patience delightfully, and Sean Nugent is fine as Reginald Bunthorne.
Others to shine are Katrin Treloar(Lady Agatha), Justine Lewis (Lady Saphir) and John Wilson as the tough old Colonel Calverley.
This production of Patience showcases the grand music of Gilbert and Sullivan and focuses firmly on the enormous sham that aestheticism truly proved to be in Wildean England.