Sunday, 20 September 2009

The Hypochondriac (ETT at the Cambridge Arts Theatre)

Moliere again, Le Malade Imaginaire was his final play. Liverpool poet Roger McGough has adapted Tartuffe in the past but steered clear of The Hypochondriac because he wasn't too keen on the scatalogical. I have to say I wasn't too keen either. Anyway, McGough wrote this translation that was first performed at the Everyman and the silly sod decided to write it in verse.
Yes verse. Rhyming that sometimes got in the way and not like the amusing half-crap-rhymes that were only there for a laugh. The audience was clearly impressed by the rhyming and at first just laughed at the end of every line because amazingly it rhymed with the last. I found that more irritating than the rhyming itself. Anyway, I got into it more than Anna because I do like silliness and I do like rhyme!
But, perhaps because it was Moliere's last play it seemed very very familiar, same old same old. It was a bit disjointed I thought, there were some excellent characters that were only cameos; at the beginning we were presented with the scheming wife's moustachioed lover- he was excellent but then never seen again. The wife herself, once found out was not seen again. The idiot was underused, he was hilarious, instead there was too much of the young (wet) lovers and the sense-talking brother. But Clive Francis and Leanne Best (as the Hypochondriac and his clever maid) were consistently good and Miss Best especially was very funny though at first her very deliberate delivery of the rhyming verse annoyed me I found that in the end it worked best for what was of course just a silly farce.

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