FOREST PLAYERS

Follow us on Facebook.

engaging and challenging local drama

 

Forest Players next production will be

The Hypochondriac by Roger McGough.

Originally concocted by Molière

 

Molière’s last play was first produced in 1673. This adaptation by the ‘Poet Lauriat of Liverpool’ Roger McGough is a scathingly funny lampoon on both hypochondria and the ‘quackery’ of the medical profession.

 

Argan is a perfectly healthy, wealthy gentleman, convinced that he is seriously ill. So obsessed is he with medicinal tinkerings and tonics that he is blind to the goings on in his own household. However, his most efficacious cure will not appear in a bottle or a bedpan, but in his sharp-tongued servant, who has a cunning plan to reveal the truth and open her master's eyes.

 

Molière’s popular comic satires poked fun at everyone, even in this case himself and, in The Hypochondriac, concentrated mainly on doctors - their pomposity, ignorance, excessive fees and use of Greek and Latin to confuse their patients. As he put it, “They know their classics - how to terrify you in Latin”, but other vices are not ignored. The duplicity of priests, the avarice of lawyers, greed, deception, vacuous romantic love and the nonsense of what amounts to an ‘honorary degree’ are all covered.

 

 

 

The play is set in May in the late 80’s, in a smart area outside London, at the home of Charles and Vivien Brookes. He is a very senior civil servant, and she is reputed to be of substantial means. The occasion is their twentieth wedding anniversary to which eight guests have been invited, but when the first couple arrive there is no sign of their hostess and catering staff, and the host is in no fit state to entertain anybody.. As the play develops great efforts are made to cover up, for various reasons, the probable truth, and whispers and insinuations imply unsavoury rumours about the hosts and some of the guests.

 

The police eventually arrive to investigate a fairly routine matter involving one of the guests and the host, but an indiscretion by another guest leads to an unbelievably staged explanation, and a twist at the end leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

 

The play is written with Neil Simon's wonderful flair; it has great pace, and superb one-liners.