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Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022

Review: don’t miss The Imaginary Invalid

Myrna Alken/for the Van Wert independent

Watching the students of the Lincolnview Theatre perform Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid was uplifting and inspiring. I had the treat of seeing these young people onstage on Friday. The skill and dedication required to produce a play from the 1600s did not go unnoticed.

The Imaginary Invalid is a delightful comedy with turns of dance and music and a visual feast of costumes and set. I highly recommend everyone get to one of the two more performances this weekend. Even younger ages will enjoy the physical comedy.

From the moment the lights go up, the cast, set, and costumes create the mood. The servants and doctors set the story for us with an opening dance. This dance troop, who will also greet you and usher you to your seat when you arrive, includes Jessica Banks, Ella Davis, Lindsey Hatcher, Kaden Hohman, Elizabeth Johnson, Zadria King, Madelyn Peters, and Olivia Snyder.

The cast of The Imaginary Invalid, which can be seen this Saturday and Sunday at the Van Wert Civic Theatre. Photo submitted

The show opens with Argan (Avery Slusher), a wealthy man with severe hypochondria, moaning about his many ailments and the cost of all the medications prescribed by his apothecaries (Maceyn Snyder and Summer Karbowiak). Argan calls for his maid, Toinette (Grace Sadowski), who fails to appear, causing him to scream for her. When she does arrive on stage, she mocks Argan’s tantrum and sets up a comedy banter that continues through the entire show.

The acting of Slusher and Sadowskil leave no doubt about the truth of Argan’s supposed conditions. Slusher is committed to the role both vocally and physically moving in and out of his ailments while Sadowski renders a silly character who knows the truth about the hypochondria and the way others are taking advantage of Argan.

We meet Argan’s daughter Angelique (Ashley McKenzie). McKenzie portrays the sweet innocence of the daughter perfectly. She and Jacob Grubb, who plays Cleante, the young man Angelique wants to marry, are believable and do a marvelous comedy duet plus another hysterical comedy bit that you will just have to buy a ticket to see. Argan, however, has arranged for Angelique to marry Thomas Diafoirus (Ethan Scaggs), a young doctor, who is not particularly interested in treating the wealthy. Angelique wants nothing to do with this arrangement.

Thomas’s father, Monsieur Diafoirus (Connor Johnson) prepares his son for this important meeting and attempts to make a good first impression. Scaggs ramps up the comedy element from the moment we see him with Johnson as the perfect foil. Scaggs’ time on stage is worth the ticket price. Argan’s other daughter, Louison (Cheyenne Linton), arrives to tell her father of some things she has seen. Sadly, the role of Louison does not allow Linton to be on stage enough. She is funny and a master at physical humor. I wanted to see more of her.

As if the crooked apothecaries in the story were not evil enough, Argan has a wife Beline (Emma Hatcher) who wishes her husband dead so she can become wealthy. From her first line, Hatcher makes the character’s intentions clear of which Argan is oblivious. The notary Monsieur De Bonnefoi (Jack Snyder), who we find out is the secret love of Beline, is already in the wings waiting to help draw up the necessary papers. Hatcher and Snyder add just enough of the underhanded element with pointed comedy to make the show even more interesting.

Argan’s brother Beralde (Daegan Hatfield) arrives in the third act to convince Argan that the arranged marriage is a mistake. Beralde and Toinette try their best to help Argan believe he does not need a doctor constantly by his side. And, yes, more comedy. Toinette concocts a plan to show Argan the truth about those around him. The ending of the play is pure genius. Of course, you will have to come see the show to discover how it all works out.

Even the technical crew for this show are students. Alex Hefner, Zach Price, Samantha Schotters, and Mason Waltmire collaborate with the actors as sound, lights and stage crew members. Bravo to director Chad Kraner for giving the Lincolnview Theatre students the challenge of this play. Stacie Korte serves as assistant director with set, costumes, and choreography by Kim Pollock and technical direction by Mary Ann Falk.

Remaining shows of The Imaginary Invalid are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 6 and 2 p.m. Sunday, November 7, at the Van Wert Civic Theatre.

All tickets are $9 ($8 with a $1 ticketing fee). Tickets are available in the Lincolnview High School office, online through the school website or at the door.

POSTED: 11/04/21 at 3:47 am. FILED UNDER: News