Thursday, 16 February 2017

"Patience" by St. Peter's G&S Society.
Ravenshead Village Hall.
"Patience" or "Bunthorne's Bride is an operetta by Gilbert & Sullivan and, in the same way that William Shakespeare often puts theatre goers off by your experience at school, Gilbert & Sullivan can often have the same effect with just that phrase operetta.
Gilbert & Sullivan are masters at writing great comedy songs for wonderful comic pieces of theatre and this is one of their best, and also one of their little performed pieces, which is just another reason for me wanting to see it.
One other reason was that I knew that it was in the very capable directorial hands of Stephen Godward because if anyone is going to know how to present G&S on stage, Stephen was the man.
It;s the story of Reginald Bunthorne, a poet, who would be the equivalent of your Justin Bieber or Harry Styles of today. He is followed by all of the women in the town who want him to be their one and only. Bunthorne though is in love with the milkmaid, Patience, who isn't in love with him.
Along comes another poet Archibald Grosvenor and becomes the flavour of the month and all the maidens follow him around which irks Bunthorne, knocking his massive ego.
A simple story of shallowness and fickleness where poets, painters and artistic designers were the pin up pop idols of the day.
Being a G&S Society, you just know that the vocals in these shows are going to be among the best, and they are, so i don't need to tell you how good these actors are with the vocals. it goes without saying that you're going to get some powerful and beautiful voices.
Rachel Wass (Patience) was delightful and funny with her little "screams".
Alex Conway (Bunthorne) debuts with the society and I love the foppish fun he brings to the stage. Being exposed to G&S from his University days he delivers a crisp and clipped performance.
Jordan Martinez (Grosvenor) is not quite so foppish but just as much fun, and looks a little less like a Kenny Everett character without the wig but also has quite an ear for accents towards the end of the performance. This is the third year for the Blidworth lad.
There are twenty maidens who are all fabulously comical but I must mention Katia Burton (Lady Angela) who absolutely oozed fun in this role.
Likewise with the six Officers, all wonderfully watchable with a great sense of fun.
Instilling the fun element in the production is director Stephen Godward and not feeling the urge to set this G&S masterpiece in a hippyfied 1960's setting or in any other era, as some have done, he keeps it to the original 1880's. After all it's the words and music that create the comedy and they are all intact.
Wonderful costumes thanks mainly to Lichfield Costume Hire and a simple but effective set designed by Stephen Godward and Norman Skelley.
Musical accompaniment was provided by pianist Piotr Wisniewski and musically directed by Lynda Harvey.
A wonderfully camp romp with some great vocal performances, a story that you can follow and plenty of laughs along the way. A real treat for any theatre and G&S fan.
"Patience" is being performed at Ravenshead Village Hall until Saturday 18 February 2017, with a matinee on Saturday. Tickets are £10.00 and children £5.00.

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