Pretentious, phony "artistes"? Guess what, it's nothing new!
Come and revel in the comic stylings of that aesthete-to-end-all-aesthetes, Reginald Bunthorne, as he pursues the winsome milkmaid Patience while simultaneously enjoying the worshipful adoration of his 20 love-sick groupies; the uproarious confusion of a hapless corps of jilted Dragoon Guards as they struggle to become aesthetic initiates in order to win back their old girlfriends; and the hilarity that ensues with the sudden unexpected appearance of the handsome aesthetic poet Archibald Grosvenor, who proves a rival for the affections of everyone else on stage!
Gilbert & Sullivan's Patience pokes fun at the aesthetic movement that sashayed over England in the late 19th century, when the output of poets, composers, painters and designers who favored sheer beauty over social and moral substance was prolific - but, some argued, empty and self-indulgent. This artistic movement, centered around the decorative arts of William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rosetti, was so popular that many aesthetes enjoyed a cult following, making the movement easy to ridicule as a meaningless fad and ensuring that Patience was a huge hit. The humor remains as true as ever in today's age where the talentless can attain iconic status simply by looking nice... while the gullible are available to worship them.