Patience (2011)

Patience, performed by us in February 2011, mocks the aesthetic poets of the late Victorian era. Aestheticism was very fashionable in London society at the time at which Gilbert was writing. Oscar Wilde was just publishing his first volume of poetry, and Gilbert’s line in the song “If you walk down Piccadilly with a poppy or a lily” is directed at Wilde’s habit of presenting a single lily to Lily Langtry, the society beauty of the day.

The show mocks the aesthetic tendencies of the poets, and also the female admiration for such style. But Patience, the village milkmaid is unimpressed by aestheticism, despite the attempts of the two poets to gain her affection. In the final twist, the village ladies agree to go back to their former lovers, the dragoon guards, only when the soldiers themselves attempt to copy the aesthetic style!