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'Patience' performance promises to light up King's Lynn stage

West Norfolk G & S Society from next Thursday perform ‘Patience’, a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta which is less frequently performed and less well-known than others in the canon.

The Society has only presented this show four times during their 64 years, in 1960, 1974, 1984 and 1995.

It has one of the silliest plots and some of the loveliest music – so the Society hopes people will be eager to attend a great show that has not been seen in the town for 23 years.

The cast of Patience by West Norfolk Gilbert and Sullivan Society
The cast of Patience by West Norfolk Gilbert and Sullivan Society

The plot for ‘Patience’ is based on the aesthetic movement, as with Oscar Wilde, in opposition to the bold, soldierly attitudes of the times.

Aesthetically draped maidens swoon over a poet and forsake their soldierly swains.

The poet loves Patience and rivalry sets in when a second poet, who was a childhood friend of Patience, arrives declaring he has always loved her.

Bunthorne (the first ‘aesthetic’ poet) “puts himself up to be raffled for” and then Patience says she will marry him.

Hearing this the maidens return their attentions to the soldiers to whom they were previously engaged, until they see Grosvenor (the second ‘fleshly’ poet).

After much mad plotting by Bunthorne and Lady Jane, the former is left in aesthetic solitude. The secondary name for this operetta is ‘Bunthorne’s Bride’ which is a joke in itself!

Julie Bjerregaard as the Lady Jane
Julie Bjerregaard as the Lady Jane

When ‘Patience’ was first produced in 1881 it was the first production at The Savoy Theatre, which was the first to be lit by electric light.

Shortly before the curtain went up for the first time, Richard D’Oyly Carte appeared on stage to prove this illumination’s safety – he broke an electric lamp without causing a fire.

‘Patience’ is on stage at The Guildhall of St George (The Arts Centre) in King Street, Lynn from January 31 to February 2 at 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.

Tickets are available from the Corn Exchange box office on 01553 764864, or at www.kingslynncornexchange.co.uk

West Norfolk G & S Society promise no fire from the stage lights but plenty from the cast.

The music of ‘Patience’ was conceived in an atmosphere of impatience: that of Gilbert and the cast in rehearsal awaiting the arrival of newly-written sheets of music; the impatience of the publisher (Chappell) to have the piano score printed ready for sale the morning after the premiere and the impatience of the general public eagerly awaiting the latest production from Mr Wilfred S.Gilbert and Mr Arthur Sullivan.


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