Words by W.S. Gilbert and Music by Arthur Sullivan
Nuffield Theatre,
June 1999
Cast List
Reginald Bunthorne
The Lady Angela
Colonel Calverley
The Lady Saphir
Major Murgatroyd
The Lady Jane
Lieut. The Duke of Dunstable
Archibald Grosvenor
The Lady Ella

Notes on this performance

91. Patience                           

Make love not war…

David Rayner and Martin Paterson had worked so well together on the last G&S production that there was never any doubt that they would be invited to renew the partnership for Patience – this time though, David ensured that the Committee agreed to him taking a place in the chorus before finally accepting. 

SOS’s previous productions of Patience had only seen one attempt at updating (Pam’s punk version in 1982) but it was a challenge that David could not resist – this time the action took place in the 60s and the company became hippies. The soldiers initially wore fatigues (saving on hiring Guards’ uniforms) and were drilled in the moves to perfection although the Dance of the Little Swans did cause some problems after they too had become hippies. The Colonel (David Jupp) sang a brilliantly rewritten version of Heavy Dragoon (thanks to Nichola Mckinley) which featured references to just about everyone who was famous in that era - a clip of it is on youtube.

David has always maintained that, when casting a show, the quality of the performer is a more important consideration than the playing age of the role and, in this production, he was true to his principles – the two young poets, Bunthorne and Grosvenor, were played by Philip de Grouchy and Colin Sly respectively, the same pair who performed those roles in 1982 (Colin was also Grosvenor in 1988) and the even younger part of Patience went to Janet Green. The City of Southampton Orchestra had become increasingly more expensive and unreliable over the past few years, so Martin created a reduced orchestration and gathered his own players, using just nine musicians who would commit to the whole week and attend the relevant rehearsals – the company and the Treasurer were delighted with the result.

The Echo reviewer enjoyed the show: ‘Flower power ruled in this production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s scathing satire on the folly of fashion as Southampton Operatic Society updated it with verve and style to the Swinging Sixties. During a polished ensemble Janet Green sung wonderfully and performed with confidence and personality in the central role of Patience. Philip de Grouchy mugged shamelessly as the womanising hippie, Bunthorne, milking the comedy in the part for all it was worth. Colin Sly as the cursed-by-his-own beauty Grosvenor also made his mark.

Slick staging, colourful costumes and excellent singing throughout, were underpinned by Martin Paterson, working with a group of accomplished musicians. The real achievement here though, lies with producer/director David Rayner. His modernisation is consistently well thought through (with clever additional lyrics by Nichola McKinley) and his direction is brimming with deft comic touches. This is definitely one to get down to. Groovy!’

Ticket sales were better than they were for The Sorcerer but were still less than spectacular. However, Martin’s reduced orchestra did make a difference, costing just £800 (£1620 in 1998), it helped Patience to actually made a profit of £276.

Terry O'Farrell

Photo of Soldiers 

The soldiers with David Jupp (Colonel Caverley) far right. John Burrows stands behind him.

Photo of Bunthorne

Philip de Grouchy (Reginald Bunthorne) with Nichola McKinley (The Lady Saphir) and Carol Johnson (The Lady Angela) - Sandra Pettyfer (The Lady Jane), by the post box, looks on 

Photo of Soldiers and Poet

Michael Sharpe (Lieut. The Duke of Dunstable), Philip de Grouchy (Reginald Bunthorne), David Jupp (Colonel Caverley), Mike Pavitt (Major Murgatroyd), Janet Green (Patience) - front kneeling: Carol Johnson (The Lady Angela)

Photo of Patience

Janet Green (Patience) with Philip de Grouchy (Reginald Bunthorne). Behind: David Jupp (Colonel Caverley), Mike Pavitt (Major Murgatroyd), Michael Sharpe (Lieut. The Duke of Dunstable), Sandra Pettyfer (The Lady Jane), Gwen Moulster (Solicitor)

Photo of Grosvenor

Colin Sly (Archibald Grosvenor) surrounded by adoring ladies. Right: Janet Green (Patience), Sandra Pettyfer (The Lady Jane), Philip de Grouchy (Reginald Bunthorne).

Photo of Hippies

The soldiers become hippies: Michael Sharpe (Lieut. The Duke of Dunstable), David Jupp (Colonel Caverley), Mike Pavitt (Major Murgatroyd)