Proving Laughter is the Best Medicine

June 2, 2012

Add the wit of legendary Liverpool poet Roger McGough to the comic shenanigans of a classic French farce and the result is a real laughter tonic guaranteed to banish the blues.

Newport Playgoers present 'The Hypochondriac'

Argan (Richard Dymond) feels another ailment coming on, to the amusement of his brother Beralde (Chris Bissex-Williams). (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

McGough’s modern take on Molière’s play ‘The Hypochondriac’ is this month’s presentation by Newport Playgoers and centres around the antics of Argan, a perfectly healthy and wealthy gentleman, who is convinced he is seriously ill. In fact, he’s so obsessed with taking medicine for imaginary ailments that he’s blind to the naughty goings-on in his own household.

Newport Playgoers present 'The Hypochondriac'

Saucy servant Toinette (Claudia Barnes) helps Argan (Richard Dymond) with another imaginary medical problem. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

In a neat twist, his most effective cure does not come in a bottle or a bedpan, but in his sharp-tongued servant, Toinette, who has a cunning plan to reveal the truth and open her master’s eyes.

Roger McGough updates this classic Molière comedy, turning prose into verse with a witty edge. A scathingly funny lampoon on both hypochondria and the ‘quack’ medical profession, this tour de farce with its very public enemas gives the action the look of a 17th-century costume romp that could easily be re-titled ‘Carry On Up the Colon’.

Playgoers will be taking the production to the outdoor Minack Theatre in Cornwall next month so there’s another chance to see it in the unique setting of the amazing theatre in the cliffs.

Prescribe yourself a real laughter tonic and see ‘The Hypochondriac’ at the Dolman Theatre from 12 – 16 June at 7.15 pm, with an extra matinee performance on the Saturday at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or 656757.  More information is available online at