Review: A Government Inspector

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Harrogate Theatre

In theatre, as in cricket, partnerships are the key to success.

Northern Broadsides found a great partnership in artistic director Barrie Rutter and associated Conrad Nelson and with the company’s latest production, another, already existing partnership needs to be made official.

Four years ago husband and wife Conrad Nelson and Deborah McAndrew worked together on Accdental Death of an Anarchist and they struck gold. It was a brilliant combination. It is a shame it has taken them so long to work together again – but it has absolutely been worth the wait. Working from Nikolai Gogol’s original, McAndrew has come up with a strange setting for A Government Inspector – so strange, in fact, it’s a town that knows not whether it’s in Yorkshire or Lancashire.

A corrupt town, full of do-gooding civil servants, looking to do themselves more good than their constituents, is visited by a government inspector. Only, the man they mistake for the inspector is a conman on the make.

Those more used to seeing gruff Shakespeare from Broadsides might start out confused, but will quickly be won over by the wit and sheer bludgeoning pace of comedy pouring off the stage.

It is in the final moments when McAndrew turns her gaze on the audience, that this becomes a brilliantly thoughtful piece of work.