Bath Voice Theatre reviews: a first-class production of Gogol’s satire The Government Inspector is marked by brilliant comic acting and timing from the students of Bath Spa Productions

The cast of The Government Inspector

The Government Inspector. Review. Mission Theatre.

With its asymmetrical doors and windows and its optical illusion chequered floor we know that all is not as it seems in the Bath Spa Productions’ staging of Nikolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector. Written in 1836 this production at The Mission Theatre in Bath is brought up to date with an adaption by Fergus Woods Dunlop (of New Old Friends fame) with jokes about Downing Street parties and clapping for the NHS – but no jokes obviously about the Ukraine despite the Russian origin of the story.

Vibrant, fast paced, shorter than the original script and extremely funny the production’s strength was in the creativity injected into the drama. A cast of comedy actors who used expressions, accents and voices as well as movement to great effect kept the attention of the packed audience as the comedy of errors unfolded.

The Mayor of the town played with expansive pomposity by Joe Makarov hears that a Government Inspector is to visit the town and a wonderfully foppish fool called Peter Prattler played by Oliver Wilson is mistaken for the official. He is showered with cash and gifts as the various residents hope he’ll overlook the corruption of the town’s representatives to a point of complete farce – a situation observed and enjoyed by his long suffering but faithful servant Osip (Katrina Parker).

Lauren Chard as the Mayor’s flirtatious daughter was excellent value with her hooped petticoat as was Nuria Urbiston Lopez as the creepy postwoman. Vicky Smithers as air head Lukich had some of the best lines and Oliver Young enjoyed himself as The Chief, while Agatha Mann as the Waiter got her timing just right. Harry Rundle as Arden, Erika Withers as Anna, and Heather Mosley as Dobbins and Eleri Koloi as Bobbins were all exceptional with the Dobbins-Bobbins duo creating some of the funniest moments.

Special mention for the assistant director Jamie Hards and those behind the scenes in set, lighting and sound design who transformed the Mission Theatre’s space into a black box auditorium. Coupled with Charlie Conway’s Ruritanian costumes this was a first-class production of Gogol’s satire of a small-town officialdom with brilliant comic acting and timing at the heart of the show. It’s just a pity it doesn’t have a longer run as it is a wonderful showcase of the talented cast.

Harry Mottram

The show runs from 7-9 April 2022, at the Mission Theatre, Bath.

Feargus Woods Dunlop is in Crimes on Centre Court at Theatre Royal Bath, Main House, 24th-28th May, 2022.

Bath Spa Productions is a production company that brings together the Schools of Art, Film and Media and the School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities with the Bath School of Music and Performing Arts. Details at https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/schools/bath-school-of-music-and-performing-arts/bath-spa-productions/

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

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