Lady Jane Steals the Show in Forebear! Theatre’s Performance of Patience

15/08/2019

United KingdomUnited Kingdom Gilbert & Sullivan, Patience: Forbear! Theatre; National Festival Orchestra / William Remmers (conductor), Harrogate, Royal Hall, Yorkshire. 8.8.2019. (RJW)

Bunthorne, Patience, Maidens & Dragoons © Jane Stokes

Production:
Director – Rachel Middle
Set – Paul Lazell
Costumes – Litchfield Costumes
Lighting – David Marsden

Cast:
Colonel Calverley — Peter Brooks
Major Murgatroyd — Roland Harrad
Duke of Dunstable — David Woods
Reginald Bunthorne — David Jones
Archibald Grosvenor — Jenni Simmonds
Mr Bunthorne’s Solicitor — George Ireland
Lady Angela — Isabelle Paige
Lady Saphir — Joanna Goldspink
Lady Ella — Darja Scukina
Lady Jane — George Priestley
Patience — Helen Clutterbuck

This production seemed conventional enough to start with when a charming rendering by forlorn, lovesick maidens pleased the audience, the chorus solo lines being clearly sung by Lady Angela. No surprises seemed to be forthcoming apart from a slightly ‘edgy’ contralto voice of Lady Jane. It was some time before we realised that Jane’s part was being convincingly played by a male in disguise. He also happened to be a cellist and this added another dimension to the opening of Act II where a live instrument was substituted for the usual ‘dummy’ cello — the effect was hilarious, especially when Lady Jane bowed slightly out of step with the orchestra.

Patience acted with modest naivety and sang her ‘I cannot tell what this love may be’ delightfully, with a bright soprano voice. Bunthorne was a poet believably infatuated by the presence of this innocent dairy maid and showed his continual irritation by Lady Jane’s cloying presence. The graceful mannerisms and gestures seemed most in keeping with our understanding of Victorian Pre-Raphaelite culture and were nicely wedded to the music. Lady Jane was not the only one given a role reversal; Grosvenor was played by a female, but the purpose of her comedy was not really understood by the majority of the audience.

A sensitive standard of acting and singing was held throughout by this nicely dressed Company, although at times audibility of accentuated speech dropped to an inaudible whisper by Grosvenor and some of the others. The well-drilled Dragoons gave military precision to their moves and the Duke and Colonel provided strong performances, especially in one of Sullivan’s best numbers, the syncopated, ‘If Saphir I chose to Marry’. The trio’s ‘stained glass’ puppetry attitudes were visually clever and neatly executed, with appropriately arranged lilies teeming with hidden meaning. Added by an aesthetic stage performance in the pit, conductor William Remmers ably held the singers together and Sally Robinson’s Festival Orchestra was perfect.

Raymond J Walker

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Carnegie Hall’s 2020-2021 season __________________________________
  • NEW! London’s Wigmore Hall in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! Tamara Rojo’s new Raymonda and ENB in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! Transitions Dance Company’s 2020 UK Tour from 21 Feb – 6 June __________________________________
  • NEW! Aldeburgh Festival from 12 – 28 June 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Let’s Dance International Frontiers 2020 from 29 April to 16 May in Leicester __________________________________
  • NEW! Beethoven 250 at London’s Barbican __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera and more in Buenos Aires during 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Beethoven 250 at London’s Southbank Centre __________________________________
  • Saffron Hall in February – August 2020 __________________________________
  • Bampton Classical Opera in 2020 – Gluck’s Paris and Helen __________________________________
  • Surrey’s Grange Park Opera in 2020 __________________________________
  • The Leeds Lieder Concert Series 2019-20 __________________________________
  • Edinburgh Usher Hall 2019-2020 Orchestral Season __________________________________
  • Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycles __________________________________
  • Ex Cathedra’s 50th Anniversary Season in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • Geneva Grand Théâtre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2019-20 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden __________________________________
  • City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Free Review Summary Newsletter

    Search S&H

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! PIANIST JONATHAN BISS IN CONVERSATION WITH CHRISTOPHER SALLON __________________________________
  • NEW! YAN PASCAL TORTELIER IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH SARDINIAN TENOR PIERO PRETTI __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH UKRAINIAN SOPRANO LIUDMYLA MONASTYRSKA __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH CHINESE SOPRANO HUI HE __________________________________
  • NEW AND UPDATED! BEST OF 2019 FROM SOME OF OUR REVIEWERS __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR TOM HAMMOND IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR HERVÉ NIQUET INTERVIEWED ABOUT GRÉTRY’S RICHARD, COEUR DE LION __________________________________
  • SOPRANO ANGELA GHEORGHIU IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR THOMAS SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH SOPRANO LISETTE OROPESA __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month