With its carnival band playing in the foyer before the show and throughout the interval, there is a beguiling theatricality about Hamish Glen's production of Moliere's comedy which reaches out to hug the audience.
Actually this "new version" by David Johnson is so freely adapted that you may well wonder how much Moliere you are hearing, but never mind: the Commedia dell'Arte spirit is joyously alive in a production which is evocatively designed (down to the candles lining the edge of the stage) and enthusiastically played by its excellent cast.
David Hargreaves, aea ves, a Birmingham Rep regular a few years ago, provides its centre of gravity as Argent, the pennypinching nightgown-clad imaginary invalid who wants to secure the full-time services of a doctor by marrying his daughter Bella off to a doltish medical student.
Despite Argent's entire lack of any sense of proportion, Hargreaves manages to make something almost touching out of his naive faith in a medical profession which at this stage in its development was more likely to kill than cure: in fact, the target of MoliEre's satire extends beyond the medical arena to take in a scepticism about authority in general.
As Bella, Amanda Beveridge is delightful - beautiful, put-upon and just a bit ridiculous.
But best of all is Irish actress Gabrielle Reidy as Argent's stroppy servant Tanny. Hers is a wonderfully polished comic performance, stylish and stylised down to the slightly jerky, puppet-like movements: let's hope Dublin's famous Abbey Theatre, where she seems to be virtually a resident, can spare her again.
With a big Thursday night audience evidently enjoying itself, this was an evening to raise great expectations for the Belgrade when it waves farewell to the builders.
Extra brownie points, too, for the stylish new-look programme.