The Imaginary Invalid – Play Review

I recently had the pleasure of watching a Indian adaptation of the classic Moliere play titled “The Imaginary Invalid”. Staged at the KH Kala Soudha in South Bangalore and performed by energetic cast of a budding theater group, the play combined a hilarious plot and brilliant characterization to make it a memorable evening.

The Imaginary Invalid is the story of a hypochondriac father who wants to get his daughter married to a doctor, so that his medical bills will be taken care of. Adding to the mix is a second wife who would rather have her step-daughter converted to a nun so that she can grab all of the man’s property.

One of the biggest winners of the play has to be its Indianisation. For far too long we have had Indians playing western plays trying hard to fake western accents and ending up with abysmal performances. The Imaginary Invalid makes it a point to bring across the diversity of India by making the characters from different Indian backgrounds, which worked wonders to the comedy and the relevance of the play.

The cast’s energy and enthusiasm is what immediately catches our attention, Praveen who plays the protagonist combined with the actor playing the maid servant were excellent with their comic timing. The character of the young suitor who was coached to impress the protagonist was one of the most memorable of characters in the ensemble. The stage design also stood its own as one of the important characters of the play. It provided the perfect canvas for the actors to work on.

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The three act play had its good and bad moments. Personally I throughly enjoyed the second act but was a bit more skeptical as the third act seemed to drag a little longer than expected. The laugh lines were well handled and it seemed like the audience was enjoying the play right thru.

All in all the Imaginary Invalid was a well executed adaptation of the French play(Le Malade imaginaire). It provided for a excellent evening of entertainment.

Ps: The Imaginary Invalid is being performed again later this week at the Alliance Francaise.