by Lynn on May 18, 2015

in The Passionate Playgoer

Written by Molière
Directed by Guy Mignault
Set by Glen Charles Landry
Music by Claude Naubert
Lighting by Alan Richer
Costumes by Melanie McNeill
Starring: Nicolas Van Burek
Julie-Kim Beaudry
Sébastien Bertrand
Krystel Descary
Bianca Heuvelmans
Djennie Laguerre
Guy Mignault
Christopher Webb

A lively serious satire about a hypochondriac wrecking havoc on his family with funny results.

The Story. Argan is our “imaginary invalid.” Not a day goes by when he doesn’t consult his doctors about some malady or other. He has been prescribed a strict regimen of frequent and effective enemas. He gets injections and takes pills for whatever. His fervent wish is for his daughter Angélique to marry a man of his choosing—a young man studying to be a doctor. Her wish is to marry Cléante, a man of her choosing, with whom she is in love and he with her. Argan’s scheming second wife also has plans for him, or rather his money. Through it all, Toinette the maid sees all the shenanigans and knows where the truth lies. She tries to help Angélique and her intended to a happy ending and to straighten out Argan from his hair brained ideas.

The Production. Director Guy Mignault has created a lively production. The set by Glen Charles Landry is spare with two entrances and few props. The walls are white-gray that conveys a sense of richness. The high-jinx and sneaky goings on have plenty of space in which to unravel as charlatans and scheming wives are revealed.

As Argan, Nicolas Van Burek has the right balance of arrogance and frustration as he flings orders to Toinette and Angélique and they balk at every command. They are either chiding him for his endless attention to his health and his devotion to quack doctors who give him useless medications, or urging him to let Angélique marry the man of her choice. As Toinette, Djennie Laguerre is bold, direct and definitely not afraid to speak her mind. As Angélique, Krystel Descary is that dandy mix of anxiousness and spunk. She wants to marry her fellah but is fearful she might be stuck with the man of her father’s choice. She is not above trying every trick to get her way. And in the part of Thomas Diafoirus, the doctor-in-training and Argan’s choice of husband for Angélique, Sébastien Bertrand has a nice array of ticks and cross-eyed facial expressions that let us know in no uncertain terms, that this guy is a goof.

The production is a mix of performances and situations that show us the folly of the situations, but also the danger that this might not work out for Angélique and Argan will continue to be deceived.

Comment. This is an effective production of Le Malade Imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid) in showing Molière’s sharp eye for phoniness, his satiric sense in skewing the medical profession, and his brilliant abilities to make the comedy front and centre.

Produced by Théâtre Français de Toronto

Run: May 6-24, 2015.
Cast: 8; 4 men, 4 women
Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes, no intermission

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