The Government Inspector

Writer/director Simon Stone has carved a reputation for creating great new Australian theatre inspired by, or adapted from, earlier works (The Wild Duck, after Ibsen, and The Cherry Orchard, after Chekhov, are recent examples). While the Australian theatre world argues the merits or otherwise of his artful rewrites, Wollongong audiences finally get the chance to see what all the fuss is about as Stone turns his craft to one of theatre’s great satirical works.

In a small town somewhere – could be anywhere, really – a self-important mayor and his corrupt cronies are thrown into panic by news from the capital that someone seriously serious is coming to report on the state of this and that. Desperate to ingratiate himself, the mayor mistakes Khlestakov, a visiting nobody, for the important official. Suddenly a completely ordinary, perhaps even sub-ordinary guy finds himself enjoying the full benefits of public power.

In The Government Inspector, Simon Stone and co. transform this nineteenth century masterwork from the great Russian dramatist Nikolai Gogol into a modern Australian tale of the ridiculous depths to which bureaucracy still sinks when it collides with self-interest and greed. Gareth Davies pulls on Khlestakov’s smarmy pants, testing the proposition that he is in fact the funniest stage actor in the country, and if not the funniest then at least the silliest. He leads a brilliant ensemble cast through this great obstacle course of lunatic hilarity.

Recommended for ages 15+. 

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