Theatre Review: The Hypochondriac

A fun, frothy production eliciting much merriment

Presented by Stirling Players
Reviewed 10 September 2021

Moliere, real name Jean-Baptiste Poquelin was considered one of France’s great writers, a master of comedy. Most of us are unable to read, or see, his works in the original and rely on translators from such as Charles Heron Wall, whose translation is used here, with some modern additions, of which I think the original writer would approve. Originally known as The Imaginary Invalid, this play was Moliere’s last and he died soon after performing as the lead character.

Angela Short has directed this tongue-in-cheek script resulting in a fun, frothy production which elicited much merriment. Bob Peel’s set was a lively mixture of a 17th century bedroom with modern touches and the costumes by Val Hancock and Gil Cordel varied from the plain period style to outrageous versions of that era.

David Salter had immense fun playing the title character, Argan, making the most of every opportunity. He was supported by a strong cast, some playing dual roles making the audience look twice as they appeared in their disguises. Nicole Rutty was splendid as his servant Toinette, cajoling and scolding eagerly. Georgia Stockham relished the role of his wife, enabling her to be larger than life and twice as loud.

Lucy Johnson doubles as Argan’s sweet eldest daughter, Angelique, who wishes to marry, and Lousion, his youngest daughter. She does so well I had to check the program to find who played the second part. The lovely Lindy LeCornu appears as Argan’s ‘Hail fellow well met’ sister who berates him for his silliness, but only after she has introduced us to Mr De Bonnefoi (a notary) who is convincingly timid.

Angelique’s love interest is Cleante played by Simon Barnett and he does fine job doubling as an apothecary, good use of wigs etc. Cleante’s rival, Thomas Diafoirus is Connor Ferguson who arrives with his father (Tim Williams) in suitable hose and matching wigs (hilarious). Lastly Argan’s doctor, Mr Purgon is given all necessary arrogance by Joshua Coldwell. All of these characters take part in an interesting ceremony at the end – I won’t explain, it would spoil the fun.

I suggest you make your booking and get to Stirling to partake of this wonderful dose of medicine soon.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Venue: Stirling Community Theatre
Season: 10-25 September 2021
Duration: 2hrs 15mins
Tickets: $18 – $25

Bookings: https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing?eid=796145&

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