|Patience > No. 1 Company in Cardiff
From the Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), Tuesday, July 17, 1883; Issue 4424.
There can scarcely be two opinions as to the performance of Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan's opera at the Cardiff Theatre last evening. The unanimous verdict of a crowded house was that the rendering of the work placed it quite in the front rank of anything that has been witnessed in the town; and most certainly the good points of the piece, both musically and histrionically, were never so clearly or so artistically brought out.
In number the present company far exceeds any that have hitherto appeared in this opera in Cardiff, where it has already been played twice, and the twenty love-sick maidens have their full complement and are flanked by an equal number of dragoons. The consequence is naturally increased strength to the chorus, which came in for a large share of the success of last evening.
As a proof that familiarity had not taken away from the popularity of the music may be evinced the fact that nearly every number was encored, the performance being prolonged thereby to a somewhat later hour than usual.
The dresses are rich, tasteful, and singularly happy in arrangement of colour, and the scenery is an attractive feature in a more than ordinarily brilliant mise-en-scène.
Patience herself is played by Miss Ethel McAlpine, who is no stranger to Cardiff, she having appeared as Mabel in the first production of "The Pirates of Penzance" here. She gained many fresh friends on the present occasion by her finished singing and piquant acting, which elicited the most genuine applause from all parts of the house. Miss Fanny Edwards is the Lady Jane, and her fine voice did her share of the music ample justice, while we trust she will not think us ungallant in saying that she looked the part admirably.
Mr. George Thorne, as Bunthorne is highly humorous, and the enunciation of his patter songs is beyond all praise, not a word being lost on the audience. The portrait is filled in with many subtle and effective touches, and stands out in prominent relief from the other characters. Mr. Arthur Rousbey and Mr. Byron Brown are both possessed of voices of more than common excellence, and were heard to distinct advantage in the music allotted to Grosvenor and Colonel Calverley.
As prelude to the more important work, a merry little trifle was played called "Matrimony," the music of which is by Mr. P. W. Halton, the conductor; it admirably serves its purpose as an agreeable lever-de-rideau.
The Taff Vale Railway have arranged to run a special late train to Pontypridd and intermediate stations on Thursday evening, leaving Cardiff at 10-40 p.m., and another opportunity is afforded our country cousins of seeing this favourite work on Saturday afternoon, when a matinée is to be given at two o'clock.
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