spotArt

spotCommercial

spotCommittee for a Workers International

spotGovernment

spotLabour Party

spotLeft and radical

spotMedia

spotNationalist and National Liberation

spotPro capitalist and Imperialist

spotReligious

spotSocial Networks

spotSocialist Party

spotSport

spotTrade Union

spotVoluntary & non-profit


All keywords


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

Art keywords:

Arts (28)

Cinema (24)

Culture (24)

Feminist (17)

Letters (56)

Museum (24)

Museums (9)

Music (43)

National Gallery (26)

National Museum of Wales (5)

Review (73)

TV (20)

Theatre (50)

Theatre


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 906, 15 June 2016: Exit the bosses' EU

Search site for keywords: Theatre - State - Bureaucracy - Review - Government - Russian - Workers - Performance - Deaf - Comedy - Russia - Council

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.






Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Related links:

Theatre:

triangleDramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

triangleWelsh update of Chekhov an engrossing tale of 1980s class conflict

triangleNew play celebrates Grunwick strike

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

triangleCorbyn confirms 1bn for the arts

State:

triangleIrish capitalist state: rotten to the core

triangleSpain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution

triangleThe "club no-one wants to be part of" - march by families of those killed in police custody

triangleCatalonia: Rajoy's furious response to proclamation of Republic

Bureaucracy:

triangleVenezuela: Capitalist offensive sharpens after assembly elections

triangleRussia 1917: how art helped make the revolution

triangleCertification officer confirms that Unison did break the rules in general secretary election

Review:

triangleBT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

triangleTV review: Abortion on Trial - hard-hitting look at impact of 1967 act

Government:

triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

Russian:

triangleBrum meeting celebrates centenary of 1917

Workers:

triangleSupport the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

Performance:

triangleSchool students' remarkable tribute to workers' Spanish Civil War bravery

Deaf:

triangleHalt the cutbacks in hearing aid provision

Comedy:

triangleWell-deserved ridicule of Stalinism is impressive, funny but flawed

Russia:

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

Council:

triangleBradford campaign to save children's services launched