Writer: Nikolai Gogol
Adaptor: Robin Colyer
Director: Robin Colyer
Reviewer: Joan Phillips
This hilarious adaptation of Gogol’s The Government Inspector by Flintlock Theatre is not to be missed. The original, satirical messages about the corruption, greed and bureaucratic stupidity of 19th century Russia are retained, but this is an ingenious version full of comical farce.
Formed in 2012, this is Flintlock Theatre’s first production and what a great start. Flintlock’s The Government Inspector was adapted and directed by artistic director and founder Robin Colyer, and produced by co-artistic director and co-founder Anna Glynn. Describing themselves as an ensemble company, the creative and acting team draw on dance, gymnastics, clowning, music, singing and acting to produce a fast-paced, physical and comical performance of great originality.
A mayor in a small town in 19th century Russia is alarmed to find the government is sending an official to inspect his district. The mayor and his cronies, deep in corruption, mistake Khlestakov, a visitor staying at the town’s inn, for the inspector. Thus starts a chain of incidents with the mayor and his corrupt town officials trying to ingratiate themselves with bribes and privileges to the wrong man.
The humour gets off to an energetic start which the four performers (Robin Colyer, Jeremy Barlow, Francesca Binefa and Samuel Davies) manage to keep up throughout. Their choreographed entrance is noisy and fun, setting the tone for the evening which at the end has the entire audience clapping and joining in with the Russian inspired folk music.
These four performers deserve huge praise. They take on all the rôles with some very fast costume changes, hilariously ingenious use of hats and with a little help from quite a few members of the audience who need to make up the rest of the cast – complete with cue cards. Not only that, the foursome treat us to a musical interlude during the interval in the theatre café next door.
Tobacco Factory Theatres continues to support new and innovative theatre at both the Factory Theatre and the Brewery Theatre in Bristol. This production is just one part of the diverse and exciting programme of events, theatre and community activities to be enjoyed there. This is local theatre supporting community and new, exciting theatre at its best.
Runs until 14th February 2015 | Photo: David Fisher