Friday, 22 July 2011

'We're Soldiers of the Queen' best chorus in Patience

As soon as I begin to think about the next show my musical memory starts to float to the surface and I gradually remember the melodies of the choruses and solos. They drift into the old grey matter a few bars at a time until the filing cabinet which is 'that' particular show opens it's drawer like a music box.

Today I played through some of the main themes of next year's Gilbert and Sullivan which will be Patience. A very funny and rather unusual show based around the Aesthetic movement of the late Victorian era, with Oscar Wilde as it's figurehead.

The ladies chorus are a melange of lovesick maidens ! All shamming a lifestyle of self inflicted misery and floating diaphanous garments............until they see the light and miraculously metamorphose into Victorian 'girls about town' !

Some lovely highlights from the Houston G&S Company !

The men's chorus are Dragoon Guards resplendent in red and gold and about as intelligent as a troop of half baked goldfish - but perhaps that is somewhat derogatory to the said 'goldfish' ! They decide, in their wisdom that if they are to win the ladies they too must all become effete poets who dance delicate little dances and quote chunks of drivelish poetry, not to mention wearing a variety of pink and purple cravats with hero shirts !

Our Patience will be just perfect, she is the pint sized L, dancer and singer, and who will also choreograph. She has a great aria in the beginning whereby she tries in vain to understand why all these eminently stupid lovesick maidens seem to spend most of the day gently wiping tears from their eyes, in an effort to please the cheeky little Oscar Wilde figure - Reginald Bunthorne.

Our chorus director and tenor C will play the said Reginald, and as he can move his feet rather well, and L will be his Patience, I am hoping for some truly splendiferous foot stomping !

I love the men's opening martial chorus, so jolly and so rhythmical, with marvelously spoof 'army' lyrics!

In my early days of school teaching in a girls boarding school, one year we produced Patience and I have a wonderfully warm memory of that chorus. The line of female dragoon gaurds entered by marching around the hall and the audience. At the top of the line were 6th formers and then the order went down in height to the smallest first formers. At that time in that school we had a girl who was suffered from dwarfism, and she was the last in the snake of soldiers, tiny and totally determined. The roar which went up in the audience every performance brought tears to my eyes as I watched her march for all she was worth, head held as high as the clouds.

Those pictures stay for a lifetime.

Roll on July 2012.......................

Crisp and vigorous singing here!

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