A great comedy classic, this production offers an evening of riotous fun.
One of the most famous comedies in world theatre, Gogol’s masterpiece has lost none of its bite. Its theme of dirty dealings in high places is totally recognisable.
In a small town at the back of nowhere corruption is rife and the Mayor and his cronies have got it made. But when they learn they are going to be subject to an undercover government inspection they panic. Mistaking a penniless nobody for the powerful official they swiftly fall victims to their own stupidity and greed. In this hilarious new translation, award winning satirist Alistair Beaton brings to life its dazzling blend of preposterous characters and all-too familiar situations. This is a play full of verbal and visual humour, at times bordering on farce.
We have assembled a wonderful, (dare I say star-studded) cast to bring these outrageous characters to life. Some very familiar and popular faces include Mike Higginson, Suzanne Harris, Kellie McEnteggart, John Turnbull, John Wilson, Maurice Tripp, Keith Dunn, Michael Martin, Dominic Clarke, Ross Holland, Vivien Cleary, Paul Wharton, Angie Brignell, David Hampton, Peter Lang and David Kerry. Making a welcome return to the GWT stage, we have Peter E Morris and Paul Redfern. We are delighted to see back again relative newcomer, Ian Welch. Lastly and by no means least, we are really pleased to have some actors making their GWT debut in this production: Edward Plowman, Jenny Tuckfield and Tim Gillingwater.
So, we look forward to seeing you all at our 2012-2013 season opener.
BILL BRAY Gives the Lowdown on Russia in the Nineteenth Century
The Olympics may have increased our geographic awareness more than we realised. It was surprising for me, with the medal count that the land area for ‘the Russian Federation’ was much smaller than the previous area of the former Soviet Union. So many countries now have independence which were previously lumped together as the Union and now have independent status.
This does not mean that political movements did not happen and there was a strong movement for independence in the Ukraine in the early part of the nineteenth century. Nikolai Gogol, author of our first production this season, used his satirical skills to lampoon the authorities as in ‘The Government Inspector’ which first appeared in 1836 but is relevant and up to date in the twenty first century. Indeed it’s depiction of political corruption, greed, and dishonesty might fit exactly into political behaviour in this country in recent years.
Gogol has an almost surreal career including a professorial chair at the University of St Petersberg in Medieval History in 1834, a job for which he had no qualifications. He turned in a performance ludicrous enough to warrant satiric treatment in one of his own stories. After an introductory lecture made up of brilliant generalizations which the 'historian' had prudently prepared and memorized, he gave up all pretence at erudition and teaching, missed two lectures out of three, and when he did appear, muttered unintelligibly through his teeth. At the final examination, he sat in utter silence with a black handkerchief wrapped around his head, simulating a toothache, while another professor interrogated the students. This academic venture proved a failure and he resigned his chair in 1835.
The following year the production of "The Government Inspector" ensured his literary reputation and he spent the next 12 years travelling and writing. Perhaps paradoxically the Tsar, Nicholas I was a Gogol supporter and may have been instrumental in getting its 1846. production. He continued to write plays, novels ("Dead Souls" was never completed) and short stories.
A clue to his bizarre career might be that the authorities in Russia used cheap alcohol to subdue political unrest and vodka was used universally as a suppressant throughout the country. He was but 42 when he died in 1852.
"The Government Inspector" has remained popular since its first performance. It became a notable production by Meyerhold in 1906 at the Moscow Arts Theatre and was seen a few years ago with Rik Mayall at London’s National Theatre and a film version was one of Danny Kaye’s major successes in the late 1950s. Its grotesque characters would not be out of place in a Disney cartoon.