Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/906/23014

From The Socialist newspaper, 15 June 2016

Theatre review: The Government Inspector

Hilarious, innovative satire on state bureaucracy

Government Inspector commemorative stamp photo Wikimedia/Creative Commons

Government Inspector commemorative stamp photo Wikimedia/Creative Commons   (Click to enlarge)

Andy Ford

This staging of Nikolai Gogol's 'The Government Inspector' is quite simply the best play I have seen in ten years.

David Harrower's adaptation of the classic comedy of errors is brought to life by mixed-ability theatre company 'Ramps on the Moon'. With great gusto they bring out the wicked satire on the bureaucracy, petty corruption and self-serving verbiage that were among the hallmarks of Tsarist Russia.

However, it is thoroughly applicable to modern times. More and more workers live under the threat of the dreaded inspection from head office, or any of the 'quangos' successive governments have inflicted on the public sector.

And of course, the reaction of modern bosses is very much the same as the hapless Russian managers. At the interval I heard someone declare: "So that's Liverpool City Council, then."

Teachers experience the same from Ofsted; nurses have their inspectors, the NMC and CQC. Even supermarket workers can have a laugh at store managers running around to fix everything before a visit from the regional manager.

The mayor and his colleagues are so panicked that they mistakenly identify a penniless visitor, Khlestakov, as the dreaded Inspector. They shower him with attention, the best food, alcohol, bribes - disguised as 'loans' - and he even ends up engaged to the mayor's daughter.

A classic scene where Khlestakov gives a hysterical drunken speech to the credulous officials, believing his own lies, reminded me very much of vintage Tony Blair. David Carlyle's performance as the mayor is truly outstanding, with echoes of John Cleese and Rick Mayall.

The cast includes actors with various disabilities alongside able-bodied performers. This gives the play an unexpected strength. The whole performance is signed by actors taking part in the action, adding to the physicality of the comedy.

The play is also subtitled for deaf audience members. As some of the actors are profoundly deaf I found this useful to get clarity on some lines - as well as the Russian names!

It is a fantastic achievement - fast paced, very funny, innovative and inclusive. The closest description might be a lost episode of Fawlty Towers - from 1836.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 15 June 2016:


EU referendum

EU referendum: whatever the result, political turmoil is ahead

EU: busting the myths that Remain is best for the 99%

TUSC anti-EU tour touches down in Wales

BT Brexit baloney

Letters: EU referendum


International socialist news and analysis

Orlando massacre: working class unity to defeat homophobia, terrorism and racism

France: workers' revolt against labour law grows


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Hilarious, innovative satire on state bureaucracy


Workplace news and analysis

Unison conference 2016: fighting leadership needed more than ever

GMB backs no-cuts budgets and steel nationalisation

Pennine Foods strike forces bosses back to the table

Hospital porters and domestic staff claim jobs and pay victory

Strike at Argos depot against contracting out of jobs

Buses parked three deep in Leeds strike

School support staff mobilise against slashing of pay

Uber drivers strike against unfair fares

Lorry stoppage paves the way to victory

Solidarity with victimised bakers' union rep


Housing crisis

Action to defeat the Housing Act: we won't move!

Housing Act: landlords and developers set to profit

Generation rent demands affordable housing


NHS

Re-open Chorley A&E - end the staff shortages

Hands Off HRI campaign grows from strength to strength


Socialist Party news and analysis

Systemic failures hurt kids in justice system

Them & Us

Socialist Party fundraising: punching above our weight


 

Home   |   The Socialist 15 June 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Theatre:

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleTheatre review: high art and savage poverty in Bootle

triangleMoving, funny and inspiring tribute to working class heroism

triangleFighting fascism with motorbike stunts

State:

triangleBiggest ever protest by Orgreave campaigners

triangleState surveillance of unions: PCS assistant head demands inquiry

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Bureaucracy:

triangleUnison HE conference: Delegates give the bureaucracy a lesson in democracy

triangleTrotskyism: what is it?

triangleChina's 'Cultural Revolution' 1966-67

Review:

trianglePrecise, visceral account of working class heroism

triangleHow black women fought racism and sexism at Nasa

Russian:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Russian Revolution - the April Theses

Workers:

triangleDoncaster postal workers walk out

Performance:

triangleSlump in unfair dismissal cases - scrap tribunal fees!

Deaf:

triangleHalt the cutbacks in hearing aid provision

Comedy:

triangleAristocrats to hold byelection for one of their 92 reps

Russia:

triangleLessons of Russia 1917 for women's struggle today

Council:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

24/3/17

Obituary

Obituary: Brenda Proctor 1950-2017

22/3/17

The Socialist

The Socialist inbox

22/3/17

Spain

Precise, visceral account of working class heroism

22/3/17

Disabled

'I'm writing this to tell you about the plight of disabled people'

22/3/17

Socialist Party

"After seeing the branch's effect in the community, I decided to join"

15/3/17

Nurses

'Nurses are angry and we are ready for action'

15/3/17

Disability

Disabled workers deserve a living wage

15/3/17

Women

Women's struggles reduced to perfume sales and career ladder

8/3/17

Disabled

Struggling to care against a backcloth of cuts

8/3/17

The Socialist

The Socialist inbox

8/3/17

Socialist Party

Why I joined: "I hope that more and more people are going to join the Socialist Party and the fight to end inequality"

8/3/17

Socialist Party

Why I joined: "I am a Labour Party member and I recently decided to join the Socialist Party"

8/3/17

Socialist

Why I joined: "I began to feel really exploited and to think about why"

8/3/17

Socialist Party

Why I joined: "In those 16 pages of the Socialist I found more sense and integrity than in the mainstream media"

1/3/17

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle23 Mar Jobstown Not Guilty: pics of London protest

triangle23 Mar Unite against terror, racism and war

triangle22 Mar Northern Ireland: divisive election a warning to the workers' movement

triangle22 Mar Battle steps up in general secretary election before start of voting

triangle22 Mar Tory splits brought to the surface - Corbyn must go on the attack

triangle21 Mar CPSA to PCS: Fighting the 'Moderates' and building a fighting union

triangle20 Mar March against racism: Refugee Rights has lively bloc

More ...

triangle28 Mar Bristol North Socialist Party: The French elections

triangle28 Mar Manchester Socialist Party: The history of the CWI

triangle30 Mar North London Socialist Party: Stop the education cuts

triangle30 Mar Bradford Socialist Party: The French election campaign

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice