|Patience > D Company on tour in York
Every theatre goer is familiar with the opera book-writing of Mr. W. S. Gilbert and the music of Mr. Arthur Sullivan, and as we have been favoured in York, by the commendable judgment and enterprise of Mr. Waddington, with the recent production of several works from the pens of the gentlemen named, it is only necessary to say that the new and original æsthetic opera, in two acts, entitled "Patience, or Bunthorne's Bride," produced on Monday and last night on the York boards by Mr. D'Oyly Carte's Opera Company, was by the playwrights named, and was received, as their works generally are, with the greatest satisfaction.
The title, "Patience," gives the remotest. possible idea of the fun in store in the course of the performance of the opera, which may be probably best defined as a very near approach to the other popular compositions of the combined talent of Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan, such as the "Pirates of Penzance," "Pinafore," and the "Sorcerer." As a matter of taste, possibly the earlier works of the composers will please many, but there is no doubt that "Patience," with its laughable episodes, charming choruses, and picturesque groupings, will require a powerful rival to displace it in the public favour.
The first act opens with an assemblage of young ladies dressed in æsthetic draperies, grouped about the stage, and playing lutes, mandolins, &c., as they sing, all being in the last stage of love-sickness. The Lady Angela (Miss Elsie Cameron), the Lady Ella (Miss Hetty Chapman), and the Lady Saphir (Miss Clara Deveine) lead them in their chorus of miserie and tokens of love for one Reginald Bunthorne, "a fleshly poet" (Mr. George Thorne) who is in love with Patience (Miss McAlpine), the village milkmaid, but whose love remains unrequited, Patience boasting that she has never loved anyone but her great-aunt, and she looks with pity on the despondent ladies.
The 35th Dragoon Guards next come on the scene, "fleshly men of full habit," and their smart military appearance was provocative of much applause. The Colonel (Mr. G. B. Brown) sang, with chorus, "The Heavy Dragoon," which was received with great enthusiasm, and then followed an amusing dialogue between the Colonel and Major Murgatroyd (Mr. J. B. Rae), and Lieutenant Duke of Dunstable (Mr. James Sydney). Bunthorne, the "fleshly poet," then enters, followed by the ladies playing harps, but he is too absorbed in composing a poem to take notice of them, and the dragoons are indignant that they escape notice. The poet slyly observes all, and ultimately treats the ladies to some of his doggerel rhyme, with which they are enchanted. He then becomes intensely melo-dramatic, and, having changed his manner, confesses that he is "æsthetic sham," and unbosoms his love for Patience, but Archibald Grosvenor, an idyllic poet (Mr. Arthur Rousbey), who is "gifted with manly beauty which has no rival on earth," outshines every one in Patience's eyes, and she begins to fancy she is in love with him, who was the four-year-old friend of her youth.
There is such a complication of circumstances, however, that the pair do not agree matrimonially, and Bunthorne again appears crowned with roses and hung about with garlands, and looking very miserable. A procession of maidens accompany, dancing classically and playing on cymbals, &c. The military are surprised at the proceedings, and the question arising who shall be Bunthorne's bride, he, feeling heart-broken at Patience's coldness, offers himself to be raffled for. A symphony and kneeling chorus by the dragoons and ladies follow, and is very amusing, and the maidens having got tickets for the raffle Lady Jane presents herself, but Bunthorne refuses her proffered aid in his single difficulties. Other circumstances follow, and the first act drops amid a scene of complication between the idyllic poet, "fleshly" poet, and Patience.
The second act reveals a glade in which Jane is seen accompanying herself on a violoncello and relenting the desertion of Bunthorne. Shortly after this she sang with great effect "Silvered is the raven hair," and was awarded an encore. After Grosvenor, the idyllic poet, has recited to the ladies some amusing lines amidst great laughter, and proved to them that he is an admirer of the æsthetic, he pays his attentions to Patience, but she alternately repels and encourages him. Mr. Rousbey was in excellent voice and was well received.
The Duke, Colonel, and Major next endeavour by adopting æsthetic dresses to captivate the maiden[s] and notwithstanding their acknowledged grotesqueness the young ladies are satisfied, and ultimately all pair off with the exception of Bunthorne, the "fleshly poet," who is left out in the cold to console himself "with a tulip or a lily." The whole of the characters were well filled, and Mr. Geo. Thorne, who was immediately recognised as an old favourite here, met with his usual good reception. The performers were all in good voice, and the music throughout was capitally rendered. The scenery and dresses were all that could be desired.
The house was crowded in every part, the seats in the dress circle having all been booked beforehand, as they are for to-night. "Patience" will be repeated to-night and two following evenings.
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