Government Inspector

by Nikolai Gogol in a version by David Harrower, London 15-18 July;
Edinburgh 17–25 August 2014

Sedos on Tour - London and Edinburgh

"Don't blame the mirror if your face is lopsided"

Russia, 1970. Sex crazed, greedy and idiotic, the local government rules over a bleak isolated town with an iron fist. When they receive warning that an incognito government inspector is en route to investigate, panic duly ensues. This dandified stranger demands bribes, flirts with the mayor’s wife and seduces his daughter. Everyone is riled up but relieved when he finally leaves. But then comes a
dismaying letter...

Gogol's biting satire was first published in 1836 but still holds a very tarnished mirror up to our own "greed is good" culture. He presents a world where there is little justice or hope for the underdog. It is perhaps surprising then, that Government Inspector is one of finest comic plays of the 19th century. Gogol believed that his play should educate and entertain simultaneously and the best way to get a message across was through laughter. It is this ethos that we wish to carry out with our production.

We are working with a wonderfully dark and hilarious adaptation by David Harrower and it is his text that has inspired us to set our production in the 1970s, when the fashion and attitude reflect the absurdly normal bureaucracy of the piece. Inspiration comes from politicians of the era whose sweaty ambition embodies the creepy, pathetic civil servants of Gogol's work.

Whilst thinking about production design, we were reminded that the Fawlty Towers episode from 1975 titled 'The Hotel Inspector' is based on Gogol's play. We loved that the look of the show remained quite realistic with hints of the ridiculous. We are very lucky that we have costume designer Edith Webb on our production team again and her work really cements our production in the environment of the time. Many productions feel compelled to present the play as a broad farce or as an exploration of the darker side of humanity. We are merging the two presentations to create a work we believe will resonate with Fringe audiences.

During our experience with As You Like It at Edinburgh Fringe, we learned that the attendees want to see well-known, fun and easy-going shows. However, no-one wants to compromise quality or Gogol's incredible writing. Rarely can one find a truly funny show that is also a scathing and accurate piece of satire. So in our production, the characterizations will stay grounded to the text to create an innovative, character-driven work.


Created with flickr slideshow.


Postmistress - Valerie Antwi
The Mayor - Alexander Baker
Avdotya - Aurora Sumner-Spencer
Osip - Adam Lines
Lypakin-Tyapkin - Stephen Maher
Khlopov - David Miller
Zemlyanika - Emma Masding
Anna- Paula Mount
Khlestakov - Benjamin Press
Maria - Sarah Ratner
Bobchinsky - Will de Renzy-Martin
Dobchinsky - Christopher Warren

Director: Zoe Thomas-Webb
Producer: Kaytie Lee
Assistant producer: Stephanie Urquhart
Production design/costumes: Edith Webb
Set design: Crispin Thomas
Stage manager: Laura Graham-Matheson

London 15-18 July 2014 at 7.30pm

The Bridewell Theatre
Bride Lane Fleet Street
London, EC4Y 8EQ

Tickets: £13.50 (concessions £11) unless otherwise stated, see below for special performances. A limited number of Premium Seats are available for £15.50 (£13). Premium tickets guarantee you a seat in the best rows in the house. Note they are unreserved within the premium block. 

Buy 10 tickets and get a 10% discount. Cash only on the door.

Book Now - London (no booking fee)

Charity night, Wednesday 16 July, 7.30pm
50% of all ticket sales go to the Cardboard Citizens, the Sedos Charity of the Year 2014.

Gala Night, Thursday 17 July, 7.30pm
Tickets £15.50 (£13 concessions). A limited number of Premium Seats are available for £18 (£15.50). There will be special Gala Night on Thursday 17 July, where guests will receive a programme and a glass of fizz.

Concessions: Sedos members, children, students with valid identification, registered disabled and registered unemployed unless otherwise stated, for example Gala Nights.

Ticket Collection
Tickets for the Bridewell Theatre in London will be available for you to collect from the Box Office on the night of the performance. They will not be posted out to you. Seats at the Bridewell Theatre are unreserved. Latecomers will only be admitted at the discretion of Sedos.

Book Now - London (no booking fee)

Edinburgh 17–25 August 2014 at 2.30pm (1 preview, 8 performances)

Monkey House at ZOO Venues
Performance length 1 hour

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 Programme has been released, and there, on page 309, is our very own Government Inspector!

Sedos Summer Festival

Government Inspector is being performed as part of the 2014 Sedos Summer Festival (1-19 July), an exciting three-week summer season featuring the return of The Eurosedos Song Contest, an Australian comedy about a reneged bunch of ageing brownies, a satirical Russian comedy about political corruption, and an afternoon and evening of song and dance.

All shows are performed at our resident home, the Bridewell Theatre. For more information on the Sedos Summer Festival, click here.

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A video showing the journey to our last London/Edinburgh production of As You Like It in 2012