I wasn't expecting to be able to get to this show, having several scheduling conflicts, but at the last minute, time opened up for me to see the matinee. Patience is a show I've seen quite a bit of; my first non-crew role was a Heavy Dragoon, and then two years later the G&S Society took a Patience to England. It's less popular than some of the Gilbert and Sullivans, but its music is no worse than any other. Unfortunately a production that's artistically good but undersells is a tough proposition for a performing company.
And today's show was good. There were a few unfortunate moments, where lines were lost or unplannedly altered, but by and large it was a fun show. The cast were clearly enjoying themselves, and it communicated.
Patience (Lucy Pfeifer) was marvellous in her scenes with the two poets, and then she topped herself in the second act with Lady Angela (Bec Muratore). Over the top? She started there and kept on moving up! But with all her effort, she still had a fair way to challenge the OTT-ness of the hilarious Lady Jane (Jennifer Donohue). The second act opens with Jane and her cello, which she made no pretense of genuinely playing. When she dragged her bow across and the orchestra didn't oblige, she glared down at them comically. And later, in her duet with Bunthorne (Stephen Smith), both of them played up the comedy, with an energetic Reggie popping up and down behind Jane - their relative heights made this work quite well. Bunthorne and Grosvenor (Stephen McNealy) had a similarly energetic "When I go out of door", upstaging each other with enthusiasm. Among the 35th Dragoon Guards (what do dragoons need to be guarded from, incidentally?), I think there were about one and a half minds - occasionally the Duke (David Campbell) disagreed with the others, until being brought back into line by the Colonel (Matthew Cookson), or the somewhat ineptly soldierly Major (Julian Raff), who needed to pause to figure out how to get the company off stage (Oh yes! Left, that's right. No, right is right. Left. Right. Left. Got it!). Their singing was far more impressive than their soldiering, though, and especially in the Soft Note, we heard a very good set of voices. Ella (Ariel Chou in the matinee) was clear and lovely, if a little timid at times; Saphir (Lucy Fitzmaurice) came forward rather more, both musically and in her characterization.
There were a few places where the show perhaps could have done with a little more polish, which may have been a consequence of having missed out on the previous night's performance; the Dragoon Guards particularly do need to look precise in their movement, for instance. But it was still a good show and a fun one, enjoyable and enjoyed, and I'm very glad to have seen it.