THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR by Nikolai Gogol
The People's Theatre Company
With very little background to this play, most of which I gleaned before hand from director Robbie Robert Robb, Alex Meade and Richard Ian Macduff Fife who played the Postwoman and Khlestakov, respectively in the play, I opened myself up to the joys of Russian humour. And a joy it turned out to be as well!
The play is all about mistaken identity in a town full of corruptness which seems to be around every corner. The Mayor gets wind of a visit from the Government Inspector and thinks that he is staying at the local hostelry with his servant. The pair, Khlestakov and his servant Osip, although penniless and being starved out of the inn by the innkeeper for non payment of their bill, suddenly find themselves being treated like royalty by the Mayor and the dignitaries of the town.
The Mayor (Rob Suttie) is a wonderful character and Rob has a wonderful voice for theatre work. You could hear every word from his character and he delivered every comic line with ease. Rob's expressive face also adds to the comedy of the character
Khelestakov (Richard Fife) is another wonderful character, deceiving all and sundry, conning the town dignitaries out of as much money as he could and taking complete advantage of their corruptness as well as their misguided kindness. A beautifully character driven comedy performance.
Although first performed in the 1830's, director Robbie Robb, brought it up to date and we even have our very own "wideboy" in Osip ( Christopher Collins ). A lovely, cheeky and confident performance as the "inspector's" sidekick who also revelled in taking advantage of the corrupt townsfolk.
Luke Steven Grainger, who also has a wonderfully clear, strong voice for the stage, showed he could do comedy as well as the next actor as the Health Commisioner, The Director of Education, played by a newcomer to the People's Theatre Company, as far as I can remember, Matthew Humphries, seemed to fit that role perfectly. Looking like he just stepped off the set from "Glee", I hope that we see more of Matthew in future productions as I feel he has a lot more to give with his acting.The Magistrate, who completed the trio of dignitary corruptness was played by Wendy McLoughlin.
A capable supporting cast completed the comedic crew. Nikolai Gogol's most well know comedy may be a new theatre experience to many, as well as myself, but it's most definitely worth seeing this weekend. It's silly, and I mean that in the best possible way, script and storyline won't tax your brain but it will exercise your chuckle muscles.
A brave choice of production for the People's Theatre company but if you're willing to spend a few quid, you'll see it was well worth the risk. "The Government Inspector" is at the Nottingham Arts Theatre until Saturday 16 May 2015, so you've not got long to get your tickets!