Adapted by Deborah McAndrew, whose father once worked as a civil servant, A Government Inspector brings Gogol’s satire on the corrupt officials within a small Russian town to the Yorkshire Pennines.
In this setting, the production follows a local council under the robust yet gullible leader, Tony Belcher (Howard Chadwick). The audience is treated to Northern accents and lively banter, complete with a brass band in tow.
The comedy of mistaken identity ensues once Jonathan Alexander Snapper Esquire (Jon Trenchard) arrives, and the council confuses him with a visiting government inspector. It is hilarious to watch the council lap up every word (and movement) of this flamboyant dandy.
It is clear how mad-cap the town is. Overflowing cabinets open suddenly like cash tills, characters sneak around listening in on conversations, and doctors speak using rattles. The darker side to the play is boldly shown, by the use of the band to represent the voices of the townspeople. It may not be entirely effective but it gets the point across.
The satire is such a pleasure to watch and it is worth seeing Gogol’s work updated to a world of Yorkshire men and brass bands.