The Government Inspector

This is so clever. It is like a hall of mirrors, each one reflecting back into the other so you don’t know what is real. And there there are the lawyers and layers of irony. The story loops in and out and neatly ties up at the end – perfect. In late 2013, director Simon Stone was notified that the play he had intended to direct, The Philadelphia Story, was not out of copyright and the estate of its co-author Ellen Barry, had written refusing to grant permission for Belvoir to stage it (especially given the intended reworkings). So, Stone decided to present Nikolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector. But as Stone and his cast looked at that play, they realised that there were a number of similarities between what had happened to them over the Philadelphia Story and the plot of The Government Inspector particularly the arrival of a letter that causes great panic and uproar. What you see at Belvoir is an acting out of the story of The Government Inspector but in the context of not being able to get their play on stage. There are misunderstandings, mistakes and reflections that are not what they seem. From the moment this play starts, it is hilarious. The actors play themselves and there is so much paying out on each other (and Simon Stone) that it comes close to the bone in many areas. Written by Simon Stone and Emily Barclay, it stars Mitchell Butel, Greg Stone, Robert Menzies, Fayssal Bazzi, Gareth Davies, Eryn Jean Norvill, Zahra Newman. Music composed by Stefan Gregory and set design by Ralph Myers. So tight and beautifully written and so funny.

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