Tuesday, 24 July 2012


Sort of recovering.........and sitting in a Moto Service Station on the M6 at Lancaster. I used to be able to drive from Paradise to Sussex in one day, but the years take their toll and now I need to have a night of rest and recuperation halfway through the 700 miles!

Patience not only had a splendidly bonded chorus with a unified and vibrant sound, but rather a kind of 'dream team' of principals. The young and spirited folk who generally have the main roles are always going places, and usually share friendships and forge musical bonds. There were a number of reasons why the cast in this year's production really sparkled, and perhaps other reasons that we can never quantify.

Patience was a totally new show for everyone except me! Many of my wonderful principals have seen a number of Mikado's and Pirate's over the years, but absolutely nobody had done this show in the past. That meant that they all learnt it together. They began a totally new journey, took each other's musical hands and clung on for dear life.

This 'learning on the job' always forms a very close knitted team, who must trust and rely on each other much more than when a role has seeped into the soil of the brain and can be accessed with a bit of spade work. Each note and word is blindingly new, painfully raw, and has to be refined and given birth to, in the space of about 3 weeks !

I have seen it many times before in my career, but probably not in the last 10 years. So our leading roles, upon whom the chorus generally rely for the confident lift and 'pow', were feeling around for some confidence of their own in the run up to opening night.

Bunthorne was way out of his comfort zone - a tenor playing a comic, and essentially off the wall role based heavily upon the rather camp image of Oscar Wilde. He felt his way slowly to start with, each rehearsal adding in another little limp wrist, or vocal flourish, until he became the larger than life character so successfully I wondered if I might ever get the tenor back!? He flounced, he minced, he rode the dialogue like a cowboy on a wild pony, and was quite breathtakingly funny. So where did all that come from I wondered, every night ?!

His Bollywood costume in duck egg blue, sequins and pearls and white trousers was splendid, and such fetchingly camp Victoriana. He was a joy to behold, and I have to wonder if he will ever visit planet earth in the near future !

He relished each moment, in equal proportions, scaring the living daylights out of Patience, annoying a petulant and smug Grosvenor, and making Lady Jane quiver with pleasure ! I began to wonder if all that was really allowed under the title of 'respectable' Gilbert and Sullivan ! It was triumphant, and as though the role was written for him. He lit up, sparkled and glowed with sheer delight. Something I had not seen in a little while!

Each of these joyous principals deserves a post of their own, so you must wait for the next installment.............

Who will it be?

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