The Government Inspector at the Dolman Theatre

Newport Playgoers put on a treat last night at the Dolman Theatre with a wonderful adaptation of Gogol’s The Government Inspector (1835). Originally set in imperial Russia, the play was later adapted by Adrian Mitchell in 1985, and it is this latter version upon which this production is based, satirising the greed and political corruption of provincial communities in this comedy of errors.

The play revolves around a group of local officials headed up by the Mayor (played by Chris Bissex-Williams), in a state of panic due to the apparent arrival of a government inspector to investigate the corruption in the town. What follows is a farcical case of mistaken identity, with the arrogant young gambler (Tim Hawken) and his assistant (Paul Cotton) taking full advantage of the situation.

Especially humorous is the setting of this production, “somewhere in Wales, somewhere in the mid-Twentieth century”. The Welsh element featured throughout, from the references to Pontypool and Swansea, the delightful Welsh accents of the actors, and the wonderful rendition of “We’ll keep a welcome in the Valleys” from the officials on meeting the government inspector, in the hope of impressing him.

The cast is too numerous to name, but suffice to say, all played their part beautifully, contributing to the fast pace and energy, with snappy dialogue and snazzy costumes, in yet another fantastic set. The entire performance had the audience in stitches right from the start to the finish. For an evening of pure entertainment and laughter, this is the play to see.

Julie Benson