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PRINCE OF WALES' THEATRE.
"PATIENCE."

From The Liverpool Mercury (Liverpool, England), Tuesday, October 18, 1881; Issue 10537.

If it be the function of the dramatic satirist to "shoot folly as it flies," no one has more skilfully accomplished it — at least, of recent years — than Messrs. Sullivan and Gilbert. With wonderful aptitude, they "catch the manners living as they rise," select their ridiculous phases, and in tuneful melody and brightly-written and witty libretto present them effectively on the stage. One of the most absurd of modern manners is the craze after ultra-æstheticism. This has been caught most adroitly by Sullivan and Gilbert, and in their latest joint production, "Patience" — an ambiguous title for stage purposes — they satirize very cleverly, and without offence, the "acute accentuation of the supremest ecstasy" of the "utterly-utter" school.

The lines upon which the plot of "Patience" runs are these — A fleshy poet, Reginald Bunthorne (Mr. George Thorne), who for a time ranks as an "apostle in the high æsthetic band," is the admiration of all the village maidens, who dote upon him and his transcendental terms to the disgust of a troop of dragoons who are stationed in the neighbourhood. But the soldiers — the "fleshly men of full habit" — follow the example of Bunthorne. To them it becomes clear that "mediæval art alone retains its zest." and they too become "jolly utter." But another poet, an idyllic one, Archie Grosvenor (Mr. Arthur Rousbey), appears among the maidens, and all of them — particularly an unsophisticated dairy-maid "Patience'' — immediately transfer their affections to him. Bunthorne, too, in a weak moment, confesses that his æstheticism is a sham, and that his attachment, à la Plato, to a bashful young potato," is all put on. The result is that Grosvenor, who wooed Patience when a little boy, marries her, and the officers of the dragoons each gets the lady he loves, while the pretended poet, Bunthorne, is discarded all round.

Upon such flimsy materials as these, an opera of exceeding merit, both from a musical and literary point of view, has been worked out, and its production at the Prince of Wales Theatre last night met with the unequivocal approval of a large and fashionable audience. The piece abounds with some of the smartest writing that has ever come from Mr. Gilbert's prolific pen; and there is also occasionally examples of pretty versification in it. The melody has all the charm that attaches to Mr. Sullivan's compositions, the concerted passages are skilfully arranged, and some of the solos are of rare beauty. The songs, "I cannot tell what this love may be," "The Heavy Dragoon," "If there be pardon in your breast," "Silvered is the raven hair," "The Silver Churn," "Love is a plaintive song" are charming compositions, and their rendering was much applauded.

The company is an unexceptionable one, the following ladies and gentlemen who compose it acting and singing with the finish and ability of thorough artists:— Reginald Bunthorne, Mr. George Thorne; Archibald Grosvenor, Mr. Arthur Rousbey; Mr. Bunthorne's Solicitor, Mr. E. Pearce; Colonel Calverley, Mr. George B. Brown; Major Murgatroyd, Mr. J. B. Rae; Lieutenant the Duke of Dunstable, Mr. James Sydney; the Lady Angela, Miss Elsie Cameron; the Lady Saphir, Miss Clara Deveine; the Lady Ella, Miss Marion May; the Lady Jane, Miss Fanny Edwards; and Patience, Miss Ethel McAlpine. The chorus is numerous, the voices fresh and well balanced; there was a specially augmented orchestra, and the opera was conducted with much ability by Mr. George Arnold. The opera is beautifully mounted, and the stage management, arrangement, and the scenery does infinite credit to Mr. Emery's skill and judgment.


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