Skip to main content

The Hypochondriak

Royal Conservatoire Scotland, Glasgow
Three stars
As openings go, when the cast of Ali de Souza's production of Hector
MacMillan's ribald Scots version of Moliere's seventeenth century
comedy, La Malade Imaginaire, come burling through the New Athenaeum
auditorium led by a bagpiper before launching into an onstage ceilidh,
it's a pretty strong statement of intent. What follows is an
accomplished and suitably larger than life study of how an old man
called Argan can take near masochistic pleasure in his imaginary
ailments. He is cured, not by quackery and a fondness for enemas, but
by waking up to his own gullibility as he's taken in by his
gold-digging wife Beline inbetween attempting to marry off his daughter
Angelique into the medical classes.

MacMillan's pithy and richly evocative dialogue is captured impeccably
by a young cast of final year acting students from the RCS, led by
Philip Laing's physically dextrous turn as Argan, who has some fine
comic interplay with Amy Conachan as Argan's maid, Toinette. As the
young lovers, Sara Clark Downie and Andrew Barrett as Angelique's beau,
Cleante, run rings around their elder charges, while there is cartoon
style largesse aplenty from Katie Leung as Beline, who two-times Argan
with Nebli Basani as a gallus Beralde.

There are a stream of doctors in the house in the second half of the
play as Argan is led towards his discovery. With the entire ensemble
donning mortar boards and cowls for the play's finale, the musical
number that follows as Argan ascends to Heaven wouldn't look out of
place in a Dennis Potter play in this fresh dissection of a play that
looks to be in the rudest of health.

The Herald, November 7th 2014


ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…