The Government Inspector
- Allan Radcliffe
- 4 March 2010
The prescience of Gogol’s comedy of political corruption, avarice and ineptness goes without saying. What’s remarkable about Communicado’s revival of The Government Inspector is that it manages to be riotously funny and entertaining while never losing sight of Gogol’s satirical intent.
The running time is just shy of three hours, but Gerry Mulgrew’s production zips by at pace with only occasional dips in energy from the ten-strong company, some doubling up on roles and playing an impressive array of musical instrument during scene changes. Every aspect, from the cartoonish ensemble playing to the vigorous musical interludes, directed by Alasdair Macrae, and the strong lighting effects has been tightly choreographed to create a heightened sense of the rot at the heart of this society. While at times there’s a little too much bustle and uproar on stage, the show’s general exuberance forms a large part of its appeal.
Andy Clark is on impish form as Khlestakov, the slob mistaken for the eponymous official, who takes the town’s municipal leaders for everything he can. But it’s John Bett as the Governor who provides the most chilling moment, when at the climax he breaks through the outraged barrage onstage to confront the audience with our own complicity in this corruption.
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Tue 9–Thu 11 Mar; Howden Park Centre, Livingstone, Fri 12 Mar. Seen at Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Fri 26 Feb