Reginald Bunthorne is a poet, adored by all the ladies - except one. Patience, a dairymaid, cannot understand what all the other ladies see in him and wonders what love is. However, despite... See full summary »



(operetta) (as William S. Gilbert)

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Cast overview:
Donald Adams ...
Derek Hammond-Stroud ...
John Fryatt ...
Sandra Dugdale ...
Anne Collins ...
Terry Jenkins ...
Shirley Chapman ...
Shelagh Squires ...
Patricia Hay ...
Roderick Kennedy ...


Reginald Bunthorne is a poet, adored by all the ladies - except one. Patience, a dairymaid, cannot understand what all the other ladies see in him and wonders what love is. However, despite her indifference to him, Bunthorne is in love with Patience and wants to marry her. Things are further complicated when another poet, Archibald Grosvenor, (a childhood friend of Patience) comes upon the scene and becomes a rival for Patience's hand. Archibald is immediately adored by all but one of the ladies (Lady Jane). The smitten ladies forsake Bunthorne in their pursuit of their new love, while Lady Jane continues to pursue her unresponsive target. Meanwhile the ladies are pursued, in turn, by their cavalry fiances, who patiently hope to win back their promised brides from the grasp of the two poets. Written by David McAnally <>

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Bunthorne's Bride  »

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This video was based on John Cox's production of the opera for Sadler's Wells (now English National) Opera. Many of the cast of the video (including Anne Collins and Derek Hammond-Stroud) appeared in the production on stage. Cox's version of "Patience" has been sold to many other opera companies, including Opera Australia. See more »


Version of Patience (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

If You're Anxious For To Shine, In a High Aesthetic Line...
2 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I discussed one of this series a few days back: RUDDIGORE with Vincent Price and Keith Mitchell. This series which came out in 1982 did all of the "Savoy" or "Gilbert & Sullivan" Operas that were 1)totally extant, 2) successful from the first day, and 3) were mostly produced by Richard D'Oyly Carte. This meant that they included TRIAL BY JURY and THE SORCEROR (both not produced at the Savoy but produced with D'Oyly Carte's assistance), but did not include THESPIS (produced by one John Hollingsworth in 1871, and now lacking most of the music), UTOPIA LIMITED (produced in 1893, but not considered very successful), and THE GRAND DUKE (produced in 1896, but usually dismissed as the weakest of the Gilbert & Sullivan works). At the time of their production a book (with illustration from the twelve productions) was published.

The casts were usually full of professional singers who had been in G & S operettas for years, but rarely in film or on television. Occasionally somebody like Clive Revill or Price would have a role in the shows. That was not the case here, where only Donald Adams (a prominent "Savoyard") appeared in the supporting part of Colonel Calverly. Unfortunately the leads were not as well known outside of circles who appreciate opera - operetta - and concert singers.

The production was a fair one, given that there were cuts (all of the productions were reduced to about 90 minutes, so much of the dialog and part of the music was always cut). It was in the right costumes, and the singing was fine. From what I recall of the delivery of the dialog it was fair. But nothing spectacular. That's too bad.

Gilbert's PATIENCE was a send-up of the current "aestheticism" craze, that was spreading in England and the United States. It's initial champion had been the writer/critic Walter Pater, but it's greatest spokesperson was Oscar Wilde, just beginning his remarkable (but ultimately tragic) career in writing. Gilbert spoofed Wilde as the poet, "Reginald Bunthorne" (ironically, Reginald is constantly pursued by a bevy of woman - the woman's chorus - who are as pretentiously aesthetic and lovers of "art for art sake" as Reginald is). Bunthorne keeps spurning these women, and their leader, Lady Jane, and wants to be loved by the woman in his heart, the simple dairymaid Patience. Sometimes it becomes hard to get the dense dairymaid to understand him. Bunthorne tries to get her to understand how he yearns for her, and asks if she understands the word "yearn". Confused, but straightforward, Patience thinks for a moment and says, "I yearn my living?".

Gilbert had his feelings that the "art for art" business was a hoax. He sees Reginald as a fake, and has him recite a wonderful spoof of the Wildean type of poetry (or what Gilbert thought it was in 1880) in a poem, "Oh Hollow, Hollow, Hollow." Soon though Reginald admits (in the song whose opening is in the "Summary" line) that he is a poseur. But soon he has a rival, one Archibald Grosevenor*, another poet (who was to represent Algernon Swinburne), for the love of Patience and for the adoration of the other females (except the faithful Lady Jane).

*I am not sure about whether this is connected or not by imitation, but in the popular "Archie" comic books, Archie Andrews rival for Veronica Lodge is "Reggie".

To add to the problems is the male chorus led by Colonel Calverly and the Duke of Dunstable, who are dragoons. Manly and heroic, none of them can understand why the woman are not impressed by their martial appearance, "When" they "first put their uniforms on". Eventually, as a matter of desperation, they go native so to speak - they try pretending they are aesthetic too!

PATIENCE is regarded as the most literate of the Savoy operas in terms of spoofing literature. It usually is considered one of the top tier Savoy Operettas, although not revived as much as say THE MIKADO or THE GONDOLIERS. As an introduction to the operetta this production will do well.

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