The Alchemist Sept.19th, ’15

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Honestly I don’t know how he does it. There’s Jonathan Goad finishing Hamlet, and a couple of hours later, he’s one of the main actors of the alchemist, a satirical farce about the greed of people that is not only highly demanding from a sheer physical standpoint but also from the frightening amount of text.

Goad is the charming Face who while his master is out invites Subtle and Dol Common into the empty mansion to part people from their money. (And don’t you just love it how aptly Ben Jonson names his characters?) Face poses as Captain and if necessary also as hunchbacked servant to Subtle’s Alchemist and together with the distractingly sexy Dol they con unsuspecting and superstitious commoners out of their money. There’s the tobacconist who wants to know where his shop’s door should be. And the gambling lawyer who needs a lucky charm in order to win. There’s the greedy religious congregation, the loud lout, who wants to learn how to quarrel, and his gorgeous widowed sister, who wants another husband,  and finally there’s Epicure Mammon, (Scott Wentworth, hilarious in  a golden fat suit, wobbling about on stage) who wants his whole life guilded.

Face, Subtle and Dol juggle their victims quite expertly until Surly, Mammon’s friend turns up. He’s too clever for their shenanigans and wants to give them over to the authorities. In order to do this though, he poses as a Spanish Don’t with wig and clothes and hat and seems to be the perfect new husband for the widow. (After he’s paid for the pleasure of course). So Mammon is waiting on his stone of wisdom that will turn everything into gold, meanwhile courting Dol, the Alchemist is trying out fortune telling and pressing more money out of the strange church people and slowly but surely the whole thing flies out of hand.

And then the master of the house turns up and within the hour Face is a servant again, Subtle and Dol are gone and Surly is the only one followed by the police as he lied to the widow and then confided in her. The master marries the widow, the duped folk have no idea what just happened and peace is restored in the village.

Again it was the little things. Stephen Ouimette prancing around with a chamber pot. Dol (Brigit Wilson) donning a dress that could be turned into a very revealing Mistress dress with a whip. Scott Wentworth casting stinky eyes at the audience for laughing out loud, all the while bopping around on stage like a mad golden billiard ball. Rylan Wilkie as the overzealous righteous religious nutter, screaming ‘this is indecent’ while throwing a temper tantrum worth of a 3year old. And finally Jonathan Goad, dashing in his red Captain’s jacked. Weird as Frankenstein’s helper in a hunchback jacket and with a limp. And harmlessly smiling and soft voiced, when his master is back, with rimmed glasses and a prayer book.

They also corpsed once. I almost peed myself. – while Surly is introduced and Face and Subtle talk, the ‘Don’ takes off his Spanish hat with a flourish…. and has his hair in his hand. He keeps talking Spanish, but frantically tries to put the damn wig back on. Of course Goad sees that and starts grinning which tips off Ouimette and finally all three of them just give up and laugh, snort and giggle with the audience, applause, hilarity, until they’re allowed to continue.

As you can see – I loved it. Wentworth and Ouimette are always a delight, Goad is just exceptional this season and the play itself just hilarious. Still grinning, me.

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