Friday, January 21, 2011

The Imaginary Invalid, Portland Center Stage, (Grade B)

by Moliere --adapted by Constance Congdon
Directed by Chris Coleman
Beline   .....   Christine Calfas
Dr. Purgeio   .....   Barry Del Sherman
Angelique   .....   Hollye Gilbert
Toinette   .....   Sharonlee McLean
Argan   .....   David Margulies
Cleante/Fleurant   .....   John Wernke
DeBennefoi / Claude   .....   Danny Wolohan

plot: hypochondriac dad wants daughter to marry a doctor so he will have medical attention for free (a doctor in the family) but the man he has picked is a fool and she loves another.  Meanwhile the evil step-mother wants to secure control of the dad's money and she wants to send the daughter to a convent so no dowry will have to be paid and there by leaving more $$ for her to get her hands on. Surrounding this is the good servant (who is on the daughters side and understands exactly what is going on) and corrupt notary and bad doctors and the girl's suitors. 

sez says:  this old French farce has a few laugh out loud moments and many lesser giggles. We think that any thing that can make us laugh is good.  It certainly had the necessary elements to make it great.  The adaptation is good.  And the acting was all round fine--and had a few stand outs:  Marguiles fit his character to a tea; Christine Calfas is a joy to watch, her training in classical Indian dance shows as she floats around the stage striking poses that are full of grace and still fulfilled the need to be larger than life.  Barry del Sherman turned his minor character into a major part of the play; and Danny Wolohan was more fun than the whole troop put together as he strutted about the stage as a chicken. Maybe not for everyone--but certainly fun from some.  Grade STRONG  B GOOD

mjc says:  recent adaptation of ancient farce left farce ancient -- adaptation did not add anything to the humor--it was funny to begin with

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