Being slightly daunted by the prospect of seeing a play written originally in Russian nearly 200 years ago we weren’t too keen on going Thursday evening (especially as it was still sunny outside, perfect for gardening).
Little did we know what a treat we were in for, the Gogol play adapted by David Harrower was fresh vibrant and relevant. The production by the Birmingham Rep in association with Ramps on the Moon was a collaboration of diversity and innovative integration, using a mixture of spoken word, signing BSL, surtitles, video projection, regional accents, obvious disabled actors and the less obvious disabled, all elements adding to the humour with resulting delight.
The story is the age old mistaken identity scenario, this time of an impoverished young gent being confused for the Government Inspector who might have been visiting incognito. The humour coming from the panicked local mayor manically trying to find solutions, his band of two faced sycophants only used to being incompetent, relying on bribery and barefaced lies. We even heard the phrase ‘we are all in this together’, it was farcical but fun filled.
The casting of this play was a stroke of genius plus of course the direction by Roxana Silbert; the mayor David Carlyle was exceptional drawing on inspiration maybe from the Basil Fawlty and Alan B’stard characterisations, the mayor’s wife Kiruna Stamell is supremely talented with great comical timing.
Mention could go to every performer as I said the cast are great, it just works, an eccentric unique and a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Tip on choosing a seat, the further back you are the better you see the whole staging and you will miss less.
Showing Nottingham playhouse until Saturday 14th May
Review by Ann Taylor