Hilary Bell’s new version of Molière’s The Hypochondriac was commissioned by Black Swan State Theatre Company, and is currently having its premiere season for Darlinghurst Theatre Company. Directed by Jo Turner, it has Darren Gilshenan in the title role and a cast that also includes Gabriel Fancourt, Sophie Gregg, Emma Harvie, Lucia Mastrantone, Jamie Oxenbould and Monica Sayers. Hilary Bellspoke to Limelightabout her adaptation.

Hypochondriac, Hilary Bell The Hypochondriac. All photographs © Robert Catto

Was the idea of adapting Molière’s The Hypochondriacyours? And what was it about the play that appealed to you?

I was in an ongoing conversation with Black Swan’s then-Artistic Director Kate Cherry about adapting a classic. She’d directed my translation of The Seagulland we were keen to do more. When Moliere’s name arose I got very excited about doing a comedy. Tartuffeis one of my favourite plays but it’s been done, and done well, many times. The Hypochondriacwas a play I’d never seen. I read it and was immediately drawn to three things: the potential for scatological jokes and lazzi; the theatrical device of someone in disguise; and the subversive character of the servant Toinette....