Words by W.S. Gilbert and Music by Arthur Sullivan
Nuffield Theatre,
June 1988
Director: David Jupp
Cast List
The Lady Angela
The Lady Saphir
The Lady Ella
The Lady Jane
Reginald Bunthorne
Archibald Grosvenor
Colonel Calverley
Major Murgatroyd

Notes on this performance

70. Patience 

Patience is a virtue…

The intention was to perform Patience in 1987 but the difficulties in finding a willing producer led to its cancellation. Undeterred, the Committee continued looking and eventually David Jupp was persuaded to make his debut in that role on the proviso that he could also play a principal part. Peter Robson joined the directing team as MD and Ken Spencer agreed to make the set and act as Stage Manager – he then checked his diary and realised that, as he was performing at the Nuffield himself the previous week, he would not have the time to prepare for ‘running the corner’ as well; Ian Pooley, a friend of David, was willing and proved a very competent substitute.

Ken’s set was quite eye-catching, consisting of a gazebo with two wrought iron benches, a loveseat and a hedgerow with a rose arbor, which gave plenty of room for the small chorus (ten lovesick maidens and ten Dragoon Guards) to perform. The Ladies costumes, however, were a problem. It was hoped to recycle the costumes from Orpheus in the Underworld and the last Patience but the material proved to be ‘too clingy’ and it was decided that the ladies would make their own costumes (1920s style) from a design provided by Jan Sly and Margaret Amey – the men’s military uniforms were hired.

David Jupp’s hopes of playing Colonel Calverley were dashed when he was informed that, for the first three days of the production, his work needed him at a sales’ conference in Portugal. Peter Hill took over this role with Tony Austin as the Major and Bob Gibson the Lieutenant. The Echo reviewer though only had eyes for Patience herself: ‘In her first lead role, Debbie Parker played the milk maid (elocution lessons courtesy of Pam Ayres) loved by the two aesthetic authors (designed by Oscar Wilde). Debbie has an excellent voice and the performances of Paul Shakespeare (Bunthorne) and Colin Sly (Grosvenor) were perfect caricatures of affectation.’

David’s production would have delighted a lover of traditional G&S as, apart from the 1920’s costumes and an effort to brighten up the rather dreary opening, he was true to the script and, to his credit, refused to go for cheap laughs by playing on any Oscar Wilde / homosexual themes.

With the risk of performing at the Mayflower in March and the uncertainty of attracting audiences to Patience, the Society committed itself to numerous fund raising activities during the season. Jim Chilvers started a 200 Club where that number of people regularly paid into a fund and were entered into prize draws every month – the idea was good but finding 200 members was not easy. Margaret Amey, however, arranged a very successful car boot sale at Carrefour in Chandlers Ford and raised a remarkable £1200. A grant of £345 was also gained from the Arts Council.

The Society may have waited a year to perform Patience but their patience was not rewarded financially as the show lost £1449 and, as the turnover for the year exceeded a VAT limit an extra £201 in tax had to be paid, giving a total deficit of £1650.

Terry O'Farrell

Photo of Colin

Colin Sly (Archibald Grosvenor) with the 'Lovesick Maids' - from left, clockwise: Jill Vincent (The Lady Angela), Emma Olden, Sam Willis, Wendy Dalton, Molly Gibson, Clare Minns, Elizabeth Hill, Sheila Howard, Lyn Austin (The Lady Saphir)

Photo of Bunthorne

Standing - front: Debbie Parker (Patience), Paul Shakespeare (Reginald Bunthorne), Margaret Amey (The Lady Jane), Peter Hill (Colonel Calverley)

 LB books dog

Hopefully coming to you in early 2021!