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A Case of Mistaken Identity in Russia with The Government Inspector

Cheryl Laverick, Anna Butcher and Giles Allen-Bowden. Photo (c) Richard Smith.

The Government Inspector by Nikolai Gogol in a new adaptation by Nick Le Mesurier. At The Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa from Wednesday 5 June to Saturday 15 June. Directed by Matthew Salisbury.

Review by Heidi Barber.

 Although it was initially published almost 200 years ago in 1836, this play written by the Russian and Ukrainian dramatist and novelist Nikolai Gogol, contains many underlying observations and messages which still hold true today.

 The Loft’s version of Gogol’s play has been updated by theatre critic Nick Le Mesurier with topical references to infamous sound bites linked to modern day politicians such as Donald Trump and Tony Blair.

 Anyone who has seen the infamous episode of Fawlty Towers featuring the case of mistaken identity with the hotel inspector, will be familiar with the main story line of this production.


Harrison Horsley, Matthew Salisbury and Dylan Marshall. Photo (c) Richard Smith.

An incognito government inspector (Giles Allen-Bowden) is due to visit a small, rural Russian town and the bumbling mayor (Matthew Salisbury) is informed by two equally inept, wealthy townsfolk (Harrison Horsley and Dylan Marshall) that a stranger is currently lodging at the local hostelry and he is behaving in a suspicious manner leading them to mistakenly believe that he is the government inspector.

 The ensuing scenes chart the efforts of various corrupt town officials as they attempt to save their skins in the face of the mistaken inspection. Bribery, finger-pointing and blame-shifting abound before the imposter finally leaves taking with him, oodles of roubles and much of the officials remaining dignity.

John Fenner, Elaine Freeborn, Mark Oram, Harrison Horsley, Dylan Marshall. Photo (c) Richard Smith.

 The ruined mayor is forced to hand over his chains of office to an ambitious and devious official, Lyapkin Tyapkin (Mark Oram). He is left shame faced and broken as is his attractive 19-year-old daughter Maria (Anna Butcher) who had been proposed to by the handsome imposter.

 With a simple but effective set, the larger-than-life characters in this extremely funny comedy, are represented well by a mixed age cast. Demonstrating great comic timing, this streamlined company of 10 characters show that the themes covered by this play, are still as relevant today as they were back in the 19th century.

The Government Inspector. (L-R) Dylan Marshall, Anna Butcher, Cheryl Laverick, Giles Allen-Bowden, Harrison Horsley. Photo (c) Richard Smith.

Tickets can be booked online at any time via the Loft Theatre Company website. Please note The free ticket offer for 16-25 year olds applies for this show. or email, or call 01926 830 680 (answer phone service).


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