It’s a new take on an old G and S favourite

Nic Wilson as  Colonel Calverley with the Home Guard platoon in Matlock G & S Society's production of Patience
Nic Wilson as Colonel Calverley with the Home Guard platoon in Matlock G & S Society's production of Patience

The Mikado set in a seedy nightclub, fairies in Iolanthe transformed into militant WI members and boatmen in The Gondoliers upgraded to cruise ship officers - what’s next for the masters of reinvention?

As the cycle of Gilbert and Sullivan productions turns full circle for Matlock G&S Society, the company is returning to a show it performed ten years ago, giving it another makeover.

A new take on Patience will be unveiled next week in honour of a member who lost her life in a car crash in April.

Chairman Liz McKenzie, who is cast as Lady Angela, said: “This show is dedicated to Christine Gilman, a founder member, who played Patience for us last time.“

A decade ago, Christine, who lived in Great Longstone, took centre stage in a production which was set in the world of interior designers.

This time, Patience is pitched against the Second World War.

Working with Angela Robinson as assistant producer, producer Nic Wilson updated some references to include personalities such as Winston Churchill, Stanley Matthews and Isaac Newton.

The scarlet tunic-wearing Dragoon Guards of 1870 have been transformed into a bunch of ineffectual volunteer soldiers. Nic said: “From a movement point of view, our men have two left feet so I thought ‘why not have them as the Home Guard’?”

Comparisons with Dad’s Army are something that the show will flag up. Nic said: “I’m playing Colonel Calverley, in essence Captain Mainwaring, Major Murgatroyd is Sgt Wilson and Lieutenant the Duke of Dunstable is Pike.”

Helen Booker will be playing Patience, her first principal role with the company she joined four years ago.

She said: “It is the least glamorous role I have ever done. I’ll be dressed in dungarees and wellies. I have a soft spot for Patience, which I did with Chesterfield G&S about ten years ago. It was the first time I had been in a proper G&S show. With this production, the music is still there, the story is still there but I think the audience will enjoy the changes that have been made.”

Patience runs from June 20 to 22 at the Medway Centre, Bakewell, at 7.30pm. Tickets are £10. Call Carole Pilkington on 01246 207893 or the venue on 01629 813638.