Review: Have a Little PATIENCE with Lamplighters Music Theatre

By: Feb. 14, 2017

Patience is a female virtue in Lamplighter's latest Gilbert and Sullivan revival, but she lacks her companion virtue, love. Learning that a woman's duty is to love unselfishly, she resolves to marry a man she dislikes.

Gilbert and Sullivan modeled the story on an "art for art's sake" Victorian movement, which is just as appropriate and entertaining today as it was for its original audiences. Contending poets duel for attention in both looks and talent as fickle ladies swoon and move their affections from one aesthetic to the next. Which man ends up with Patience as his bride and which gains nothing will only be revealed in one of Gilbert and Sullivan's most ridiculous, unforeseen and all together delightful finales.

The tunes here are not quite as memorable and lively as the outlandish finish. Still, while the score may not offer the best of Gilbert and Sullivan, this production offers the very best of Lamplighters Music Theater. As of last week's opening, Barbara Heroux has now directed every Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Once again, she brings the finest ensemble (with leads double-cast) and a pleasant, character-driven staging.

At Saturday's Walnut Creek matinee, Jennifer Mitchell's Patience had a crystal clear soprano voice. Chris Uzelac strutted like a peacock as Reginald Bunthorne, the extravagant faux poet in pursuit of "twenty love-sick maidens" (actually sixteen). His one loyal devotee, Anne Hubble as the Lady Jane, rivaled Bunthorne in dramatic personality, particularly where cymbals and a cello were involved. The other ladies (led by the exceptional Cary Ann Rosko, Michele Schroeder and Lucy Harms) later followed Idyllic poet Archibald Grosvenor (Samuel Faustine), perhaps a male counterpart to The Mikado's Yum-Yum in his sensational admiration of his own reflection. Lastly, a trio of jilted Dragoon Guards (William Neely, Rob Cadwallader and Ben Porter) dressed and posed in an uproarious to win back the hearts of their women.

Beautiful, detailed costumes and a vibrant orchestra completed the impeccable production, which has one weekend of performances left in Mountain View. After all, eventually "Patience" runs out. Fortunately, she'll return before long as part of Lamplighters Music Theatre's regular rotation of Gilbert and Sullivan favorites.


Feb 18-19 in Mountain View