One of the most famous comedies in world theatre, Gogol's masterpiece has lost none of its bite. In a small town corruption is rife, and the Mayor and his cronies have got it made. So when they learn they are going to be subject to an undercover government inspection they panic. Mistaking a penniless nobody for the inspector they swiftly fall victims to their own stupidity and greed.
A dazzling blend of preposterous characters and familiar situations, Nabokov called The Government Inspector the greatest play in the Russian language. A production of this version of the play opened at the Chichester Festival in June 2005 starring the comedian Alistair McGowan.
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The Government Inspector is a short, fast-paced satirical farce. I felt like it lacked some of Gogol's habitual mystic insanity, but as a comedy it fits neatly into the vein of its contemporaries.
This is a delightful little comedy. This is not great art; it did not change the course of drama or reinvent the way plays are performed and written. It does however entertain and it holds up well more than a century later. It was turned into a movie starring Danny Kaye which is well worth viewing. This play offers gentile satire of government bureaucracy.