Words by W.S. Gilbert and Music by Arthur Sullivan
The Guildhall,
November 1951
Cast List
Colonel Calverley
Major Murgatroyd
Lieutenant, The Duke of Dunstable
Reginald Bunthorne
Archibald Grosvenor
Lady Angela
Lady Saphir
Lady Ella
Lady Jane

Notes on this performance

24. Patience

Cost cutting…

The members were approached for their opinion on performing a second show in November and that resulted in a vote if 35 – 20 in favour (with several of those against the idea promising to still support the venture if necessary). It was then unanimously agreed that the production to be staged would be Patience and that Alfred Tomalin and D Cecil Williams would continue as the directing team.

The experiment of inviting pensioners to the Dress Rehearsal at a reduced price was considered to be worth repeating but ticket sales were initially very slow and cost cutting measures were considered. Consequently, it was decided not to supply refreshments to the cast, helpers and orchestra during the intervals – refreshments had, after all, cost £16 12s 3d (£16.61) for The Yeomen of the Guard. Another interval practice was also rescinded, Mr Skinner would no longer have to give a speech from the stage recommending the magazine Prompter (The Theatre Magazine of Southampton) and an advertisement would now appear in the programme instead.

It was also decided to recoup some money by selling the sandals used in the production for 4/- (20p) a pair and to increase the advertisements in The Echo, although there had been a big increase in the cost of this. Double-casting made a re-appearance in a minor way; Marjorie Harman had moved out of town and was not available to play Lady Jane every evening so shared the part with Marjorie Kennedy. 

The Echo report stated, ‘Southampton Amateur Operatic Society is now on a week’s run of Patience, and the production maintains the high standard that the society has established over many years in the world of Savoy opera. The society is lucky in having a few principals who are imbued with the Savoy spirit and tradition, and round them minor characters and chorus mould themselves to make convincing the peculiar mixture of fantasy and bubble-pricking which Gilbert devised.’

He was particularly taken by the performances of Tom Judd and Marjorie Kennedy, ‘Tom Judd, for instance, drops into the leading roles as to the manner born; Marjorie Kennedy has the presence and diction to succeed to the full in what might be called the Katisha parts; and if all the others do not quite so effectively wear the Savoy mantle there is, none the less, some very sound work put in by a lot of people’ and ‘As Bunthorne, Tom Judd is not only highly successful with his songs, but supplies a wealth of amusing decorative detail to movement and gesture.’ As always in Patience the men’s chorus went down well, ‘The Heavy Dragoons were an instantaneous success with their gorgeous costumes and fine crop of Costa-like moustaches.’ The report concluded, ‘The orchestra, conducted by D. Cecil Williams, played its part efficiently, and in the general, well-earned praise, the producer, Alfred J. Tomalin, should not be forgotten,’

Patience made a small profit of £16 4s 6d (roughly the cost of the refreshments) and it was decided that £100 would be donated to charities at the next AGM.

Terry O'Farrell

Photo of Soldiers

Bruce Ellery (Colonel Calverley), Geoffrey Clark (Lieutenant, The Duke of Dunstable), Bert Wareham (Major Murgatroyd)