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  • Writer's pictureSarah

Review of 'Patience' at Wilton's Music Hall

Updated: Aug 27, 2022

The shabby chic doorway to Wilton's Music Hall - the oldest in the world
The shabby chic doorway to Wilton's Music Hall - the oldest Music Hall in the world

The faded shabby chic of Wilton's Music Hall is the perfect setting for this rendition of Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta 'Patience'.

This production by Charles Court Opera satirising the aesthetic movement has brought Patience up to date. It's now set in the Castle pub, and Patience is no longer a milk maid, she's the barmaid.

The 'Melancholy Maids' consisting of Lady Jane, Lady Angela and Lady Saphir, set the scene. Dressed in steam-punk clothing they lament their unrequited love(s) for the aesthetic poet Bunthorne by downing vodka shots. Their facial expressions, over the top pathos, and comic timing had the audience in raptures from the start.

Due to cast illness, John Savournin stepped into the role of Bunthorne last night. His foppish character, cynically seeking adulation from the maids was spot on. Think Aidan Turner as Rosetti in the BBC pre-Raphaelite drama 'Desperate Romantics', but with humour.

Bunthorne surrounded by the three adoring Melancholy Maids
Bunthorne surrounded by the adoring Melancholy Maids

Bunthorne receives all the adulation he desires, apart from the one person that he wants it from - the sweet and unsophisticated Patience. The twist with Patience is that she's happy to have never been in love, and isn't looking for it. Lady Angela convinces her that it's an unselfish act to love, and a duty, and then Patience is determined to be in love.

The arrival of Archibald, the once 4 year old boy that she did have feelings for as a child changes everything. Bunthorne now has a rival for her affections. And for all the maids:

Archibald, "Yes, I'm aesthetic and poetic"

Maids, "Then we love you".

Three Dragoons plotting how to win the affections of their maids back
Dragoons plotting how to win the affections of their maids back

In amongst this are the returning dragoons, with whom the maids had previously been engaged. In order to win back affections they don foppish clothing and poses to the desired effect.

There are twists and turns of who loves who.

There are several modern references inserted into the original, especially when the maids transform themselves into 'Sports Direct girls' having learnt that it's ok to reject the aesthetic and to be normal.

In the end everyone is paired up, apart from Blunthorne.

Overall, this is a very successful revival, which the 100% white audience (something very unusual for London) adored. If you fancy a night of fun, comedy, parody and brilliant singing this operetta is as relevant today as it's ever been. Young women still swoon over pop stars such as Harry Styles, so you have to wonder how much has changed - only the fashion I fear.

When: 24th to 26th August

Cast: Catriona Hewitson (Patience)

John Savournin (Bunthorne)

Matthew Siveter (Grosvenor)

Catrine Kirkman (Lady Jane)

Matthew Palmer (Colonel Calverley)

Meriel Cunningham (Lady Angela)

Jennie Jacobs (Lady Saphir)

David Menezes (The Duke)

Dominic Bowe (The Major). Creatives: Director – John Savournin Musical Director - David Eaton Libretto – W.S. Gilbert Composer – Arthur Sullivan Choreographer - Merry Holden Original choreography – Damian Czarnecki Design – Simon Bejer

Running time: Act 1: 65min Interval: 20min Act 2: 45min

Bookings: Here


1 Graces Alley

London, E1 8JB

Nearest stations:

Tower Hill - tube and DLR then a 10 min walk

Aldgate East


London Bridge - overground - I walked it in about 25 mins


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