The Government Inspector
A review, by Lynne Savege, of 'The Government Inspector', Gogol's satire on corruption, given as a rehearsed reading in costume outside on the paddock in Filkins on Saturday 17th 2021
'Filkins Theatre' was founded in the 1980s with a production of 'Hay Fever'. Since then it has involved dozens of villagers and friends from elsewhere in plays, pantomimes, poetry readings, 'supper theatre', revues, children's theatre, murder mystery evenings, historical re-enactions, and regular monthly play-readings.
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'The Government Inspector' was the latest production to follow FT's summer tradition of an outdoor rehearsed reading in costume.
You can see the programme for 'The Government Inspector' lower down
Lynne Savege writes:
Unable to participate as usual in our Filkins Theatre production this year, I had a different experience, watching it from the other side, in the audience, live in the paddock on Saturday evening. The setting was just perfect, hot and sunny initially... perhaps too hot for the players (I vividly remember sleeping on the green sward, as Titania, in a beautiful green gown awaiting Bottom, in a previous production and thinking how hot it was, too hot...)
Jeremy Irwin-Singer, as ever, did an amazing job directing and taking the lead in the play. Jane Martin was our wonderful wardrobe mistress, letting out too tight suits and finding charity shop bargains for thrifty costumes and Lorraine Chitty, admirably sourcing all the props prior to going on holiday. Thanks to our bar staff, Michele & Alan Heath, keeping everyone in drinks from the village shop and to Edmund Irwin-Singer for bringing round much needed nibbles in the interval. Everyone was wonderful...
It's a tale about provincial life in a small Russian town where those in power are totally corrupt and the poor are downtrodden and abused (sound familiar?) Of course, it is rich for milking humour from every situation, something in which Jeremy excels and he has willing players to bring out, from Dob and Bob (Dobchinsky and Bobchinsky played by Charlie Payne and Trevor Milne Day) and their bumbling silliness, to Mandy Scott’s police chief - attention! Yes sir!
From Avdotya (Julia Neame) and her guttural responses, to Jeremy as the handsome rake, Kolestakov, gambling and women are his bag, just the right amount of leering , raising sniggers from me! From Sally Peach’s German Doctor, happily chuntering along in German and not understanding a thing said, to Barry Heath’s Osip, Kolestakov’s servant, under no illusions about his master’s vices but willing to say anything for another meal and roubles. From Anna’s (Sue Ashforth-Smith) self-absorbed “it’s all about me, me, me”! to Netty Lings and Biz Gooddy who admirably switched from downtrodden servant to policemen to abused shopkeepers.
From Eleanor Martin, the Mayor’s daughter subdued by her grasping mother, suddenly elevated to the glorious betrothed, to Richard Martin as the greedy, corrupt mayor, dreaming of glory... He’ll break your fingers if you don’t give him the best of your stock! And his useless, corrupt team – Paul Molyneaux as Magistrate, Teresa Smallbone as Hospital Director, Peter Sangston as Education Director, all more than willing to bribe to cover their inept management.
Then there was the town’s Postmistress (Avril Payne)... She opened and read everyone’s mail, dreadful! But if she hadn’t been so very nosy, they would never have realised what Kolestakov really thought of them: how embarrassing!
Paul Harvey did a great job on sound effects, especially the snoring, rumbling and farting whilst Kolestakov slept off the sumptuous meal, and the ending was just fabulous with the whole cast gasping in open-mouthed horror as the Postmistress revealed the truth and realisation dawned that they had been duped, Kolestakov long gone, and the REAL Government Inspector about to pay them a visit.
Finally, and in the context of this strange Time of Corona, thank you Alan Law for helping with the necessary dance with our new best friend... Gov.UK Covid guidance.
Well done all!
Superb effort and I hope to join you next time!
Here is a the programme for the show...
(It might take a few seconds for it to download before you can turn the pages.)
And now the photographs!
The Dress Rehearsal: The 'corrupt officials' gather...
As ever with theatre... The director is the fall guy!
The Dress Rehearsal: Back stage...
The excitement and
glamour of acting!
Two old gents, and a maiden...
Thanks to those who have sent photographs. If anyone has any more, do please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org