Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Good Doctor

Cobh Food & Heritage Day by CorkBilly
Luke Barry, one of the fab five in The Good Doctor

The Good Doctor

The talent of the CAT Repertory Company was once again illustrated last night with an engaging performance of Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor. Based on stories by Chekov, stories that strongly hint that the world, his world, has gone mad. We all know it is still mad. After all Italy has elected a comic. Then again, haven't we all. 

The Good Doctor helps you see the humour in the disarray. The cure is laughter and is available in the Cork Arts Theatre until March 16th. Prescription cost is a tenner this week, goes up to fifteen for the rest of the run.

You know you are on shaky ground when the Good Doctor admits his self-built house slides down the hill every now and then, with the neighbours waving goodbye or maybe good riddance. The play, a series of playlets really, is just as surreal, and there is laughter galore as one crazy scene follows another.

"The Writer," obviously Chekhov, who himself was a "good doctor," acts as narrator and serves to connect the various scenes. The playlets include "The Sneezer," who cannot apologize enough to a general for splattering a sneeze on his head; "The Seduction" shows a man-about-town using a husband as the conduit for his attempted seduction of the man's new bride. "The Drowned Man" claims to be in the "maritime entertainment business" and will drown himself for a small fee. 

"The Defenceless Creature," a particularly hilarious scene, features a clever wife suffering from a "nervous disorder," who tries to extort money from a banker. In "The Arrangement" a father takes his shy, 19-year-old son to a house of ill repute and then you have “The Audition" where an actress with a temperature of 103 insists on doing the audition for the writer. 

Quite a challenge for the five actors here but all, separately and together, rose to the occasion. Fionula Linehan’s highlight was as the far from Defenceless Creature while Kieran O’Leary was brilliant as her target the banker and was also suitably nervous as a patient to a novice dentist in yet another playlet “The Surgery”.

Rachel O’Connell got everything spot-on, particularly in her audition. Luke Barry made some telling contributions, his playing of the absurd “drowner” perhaps the most hilarious. The Good Doctor himself Dominic McHale held it all together as the narrator and entered a few of the scenes to telling effect, especially as the wily seducer.

The Good Doctor scenes had alternate endings, the writer’s prerogative. It was a kind of pass go and collect five million roubles thing. But that ending, though regularly mentioned, was never applied. Things were mad enough.


Directed by Dolores Mannion 
Starring Fionula Linehan, Kieran O'Leary, Rachel O'Connell, 
Dominic MacHale and Luke Barry.

Tickets: Opening Week - Wed. 27th Feb - Sat. 2nd March - Special Offer price of €10; Tuesday 5th - Saturday 16th March - €15 / €12 Group Rates available

Note: No performances on Sundays or Mondays. No performance on Friday 8th March.

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