MUGSS 1981

Patience

or Bunthorne's Bride
Performed at The Renold Theatre, UMIST

Cast

Colonel Calverley (Officer of the Dragoon Gaurds)
Peter Hawkins
Major Murgatroyd (Officer of the Dragoon Guards)
Nick Stewart
Lieutenant the Duke of Dunstable (Officer of the Dragoon Guards)
Andy Booth
Reginal Bunthorne (a Fleshly Poet)
David Paterson
Archibald Grosvenor (an Idyllic Poet)
Kit Mitchell
Mr Bunthorne's Solicitor
Jeffrey Laing
The Lady Angela (Rapturous Maiden)
Sue Johnson
The Lady Saphir (Rapturous Maiden)
Rachel Kilbey
The Lady Ella (Rapturous Maiden)
Anne Grimwood
The Lady Jane (Rapturous Maiden)
Liz Humphreys
Patience (a Dairy Maid)
Judith Kent
 
Chorus of Rapturous Maidens
Elizabeth Allen, Alison Brand, Denise Burgess, Sheila Connelly, Bernadette Crossman, Juliet Clough, Marguerite Dalton, Yasmin Daniels, Helen Davies, Roo Gill, Tricia Hardman, Sharon Hickson, Hela Huzar, Alison Hynes, Julie Jessop, Anne Jones, Catrin Jones, Anne Knowles, Part Lord, Marion Lumb, Rosalind Marsh, Mary McClusky, Candida Milla, Helen Ramsden, Pat Smales
Chorus of Officers of Dragoon Guards
Peter Blythe, Mike Charlesworth, Stephen Fitzjohn, Mike Harris, Steven Harulow, Mark Higginbotham, John Humphreys, Andrew Jones, Ken Knight, Tony Royle, Peter Spragg, Andrew Sutcliffe, Jim Symcox, Maurice White

Production

Director
John Humphreys
Musical Director
John Bethell
Stage Manager & Lighting
Adrian Colmer
Rehearsal Accompanists
Dave Littley, Mike Harris
Costumes
S.B. Watts Limited
Front of House
Dave Littley
Chorus Master
Mike Harris
Publicity
Alison Hynes
Artwork
Anne Grimwood
Business Managers
Julie Jessop, Andy Sutcliffe

Committee

Chairlady
Anne Knowles
Secretary
Marguerite Dalton
Treasurer
Andrew Jones
Publicity
Alison Hynes
Social Secretary
Andrew Booth
Business Managers
Julie Jessop, Andrew Sutcliffe
Ordinary Members
Mark Higginbotham, Ken Knight

Notes

NOTES ON THE OPERA

"Patience", the sixth Gilbert and Sullivan collaboration, was first produced at the Opera Comique, London, on 23rd April, 1881. Later in that year it transferred to Richard D'Oyly Carte's new Savoy Theatre where it achieved the distinction of being the first stage work to be lit entirely by electricity!
As with many of the Savoy operas, the idea for the plot came from one of Gilbert's earlier works, in this case a poem about two rival clergymen. In the original draft the two poets were curates, Patience was the village school-mistress and Lady Jane was a nun. However, to avoid offending the Church, it was decided instead to satirize the then-popular 'aesthetic movement' in which Oscar Wilde was a prominent figure. Although the opera then took its present form, some words remained unchanged such as: "Your style is much too sanctified, your cut is too canonical" from the duet in Act Two between Bunthorne and Jane.
In 1881, "Patience" was an immediate success and ran for a total of 408 performances. In this centenary year we might reflect on the fact that it is now one the least popular Savoy operas. There is no doubt that the passing of the aesthetic cult has dated the opera but aestheticism itself was never the central them in "Patience". Gilbert set out to illustrate the gulf between classical art (exemplified by the uniformed dragoons dressed in primary colours with martial music and measured dialogue) and romantic art (the aesthetes and lovesick maidens - entirely unregimented with pastel shades, languid music and flowing, verbose dialogue).
Most modern audiences (and, alas, many present-day producers and performers) completely miss this important theme and, for them at least, "Patience" will always appear dated if not incomprehensible. This is a great pity for it contains some of the best work of both Gilbert and Sullivan.
Colin Price

The Story of the Opera

The affections of the ladies who live in the environs of Castle Bunthorne have recently been attracted by its inhabitants, Reginald Bunthorne, an aesthetic poet. Such is their infatuation that they are wont to spend the whole day idolizing him. Only Patience, the village milkmaid, remains uninterested but, alas, she in the only maiden whom Reginald finds attractive! These lovesick maidens had recently been engaged to the mend of the 35th Dragoon Guards and when the military men return from a long campaign they are somewhat indignant and mystified to find that Bunthorne, by some incomprehensible charm, has monopolised the affections of their former fiancess. To complicate matters, Archibald Grosvenor (a rather superior aesthetic poet) now arrives and this precipitates a division of loyalty amongst the ladies: only the plain and unattractive Jane continues to idolize Reginald. Bunthorne has a marked love of admiration and the defection of his band of female followers causes him grave concern. Patience, entirely naive and untutored in affairs of the heart, switches her uncertain affections from Bunthorne to Grosvenor and back again to Bunthorne. The officers of the Dragoons decide to take up aestheticism in an attempt to regain their ladies and the ladies are touched by their efforts. When Grosvenor decides that aestheticism ought to be discarded, the ladies follow suit. Everyone can now pair off apart from Bunthorne who remains alone!
Colin Price

Honorary Patrons

Baron Hailsham, Right Reverend Patrick Campbell Rodger, Dr Isaac Asimov, Patrick Moore CBE, Stanford Robinson OBE, Alexander Young

Patrons 1980/81

Mr and Mrs T. Bent, Dr Colin Price, Mrs S.A. Price, Mr D.J. Hamilton, Mr and Mrs D. Vine, Mr A.R. Mee, Mr J. Hughes, Mr and Mrs A.E. Tooms, Miss S. Turner, Mr D. Bolton

Music

 
Complete recordings of this show (and all from 1964 onwards) can be purchased on CD from Mike Harris, our Society Archivist