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the hypochondriac art work

all about theatre four star review

The Hypochondriac is a play by the 17th century playwright Moliere. It was Moliere's last play as he died in 1673 after performing as Argan in a production of the show, he finished the show but shortly after collapsed and died. The hypochondriac which is currently running at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield is Rodger McGough's adapted version of the play and it is directed by Sarah Tipple.

4.	Edward Hogg (Argan) in The Hypochondriac. Photo by Manuel Harlan. A man dressed in grubby white bedclothes is peering through glasses, trying to read a piece of parchment. Behind, is a chaotic 17th century drawing room filled with papers, bottles, books and instruments.

The play tells the story of Argon (Edward Hogg), a wealthy man convinced that he is seriously ill but who is in fact perfectly healthy. Argon spends most of his time visiting various doctors in the hopes of staving off death, this is very costly as the remedies the doctors prescribe are not cheap but Argon has a plan which he thinks will help him with this. Argon plans to marry his daughter Angélique (Saroja-Lilly Ratnavel) to Thomas Diaforius (Garmon Rhys) the son of a doctor in the hopes that this will ease his medical costs however his wife Béline (Jessica Ranson) is against this idea and wants Angélique to become a nun and join a convent. Béline is Argon's second wife and Angélique stepmother, we soon learn the reason she wants Angélique to become a nun is so that she alone will inherit all Argon's wealth when he dies and not Angélique. Angélique herself is against the marriage as she has fallen in love with a man named Clèante (Zak Ghazi-Torbati) who she met at a play. It is up to Argon's servant Toinette (Zweyla Mitchell Dos Santos) and his brother Béralde (Chriss Hammon) to convince Argon that he should let Angélique marry the man she loves and that his own wife is just out to get his money but they also must convince him that he is not sick and does not need all the medications these doctors have prescribed him.

7.	Jessica Ransom (Béline), Edward Hogg (Argan) and André Refig (Bonnefoi) in The Hypochondriac. Photo by Manuel Harlan. A man dressed in grubby white bedclothes is being persuaded by a man dressed in fine red clothing. A woman in an elaborate 17th century blue gown watches on and looks pityingly.

The set designed by Colin Richmond is just spectacular and is just a treat for the eyes, its a simple static set but it is filled to then brim with props. The set looks like it was once a beautiful library which has deteriorated over time as Argon's mind has become more turbulent. The set is very cluttered with little apothecary bottle, books and pappers scatter all around the edge of the crucibles thrust stage and books and medical tools scatter all around the shelves in the room. I also really love the green colour which they have used for the set it workes perfectly with the hints of gold used in the set pieces. The costumes again designed by Colin Richmond are just beautiful and opulent they are gorgeous period outfits and are so colourful they stand out so well against the green background of the set.

11.	The Company of The Hypochondriac. Photo by Manuel Harlan. A household are conversing in a chaotic 17th century drawing room filled with papers, bottles, books and instruments. A skeleton hangs from the ceiling.

There are just nine cast members in this production and all do a fantastic job, Edward Hogg as Lead Argon gave a wonderful performance and was able to get the audience to warm to his character over the course of the play. Zweyla Mitchell Dos Santos was just perfect as Toinette she was fun, endearing and her comic timing was excellent. Saroja-Lilly Ratnavel gave a heart warming performance as Aragon's daughter Angélique and she had great chemistry with Zak Ghazi-Torbati who played love interest Clèante. Out of the supporting cast I have to give a mention to Garmon Rhys who had the audience laughing out loud at his hilarious portrayal of Thomas Diaforius.

6.	Garmon Rhys (Thomas Diaforius) and Zak Ghazi-Torbati (Clèante) in The Hypochondriac. Photo by Manuel Harlan. Two men dressed in 17th century colourful overcoats are arguing. One holds a conductor’s baton and the other scowls at him. Behind, other household members watch them with suspense.

The hypochondriac is whitty, playful, fun, bonkers and laugh out loud funny, it has some great comedy songs which have been added to it and the extremely talent cast really makes the material come to life on stage. The set and costumes make this show a visual treat for the audience and all this together make the show a fantastically fun night out at the theatre.

The Hypochondriac is running at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield until Saturday 21st October 2023 you can purchase tickets by clicking on the button below.

If you would like more information about the play you can find it by clicking on the button below.

Photo Credit - Manuel Harlan

*Our tickets for this show were kindly gifted in exchange for an honest review


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