“The Government Inspector” Presented by Seattle Shakespeare

If you love farce, you are going to love this classy production of “The Government Inspector.”
This is the version adapted in 2009 by Jeffrey Hatcher from Nikolai Gogol’s early 19th Century comedy, and it couldn’t be more hilarious or better staged.

From the opening moment when a series of doors and then chairs overrun the stage in balletic fashion, all propelled by cast members, you know that creativity reigns here. Director Allison Narver has assembled a remarkable cast and stage crew to delight us with this tale of corruption, greed, lust and lascivious behavior.

It’s a story many of us have read or seen on screen. The citizens of a small town in Russia learn that an incognito government inspector is coming to perform an audit. Horrified, fearful that their deceits and misdeeds will be discovered, they vow to dupe this emissary from the Czar. Unfortunately for them, they mistake a lowly civil servant for the real government inspector and overwhelm him with an experience he couldn’t have imagined in his wildest dreams.

R. Hamilton Wright, the faux inspector, excels in his role. He’s a man who is not averse to chicanery, especially when it benefits him, so why on earth would he admit that he wasn’t the man they expected? This uniformly good cast is in top form and knows how to make the most out of the deception. The physical humor is uproarious. Timing is everything, and cast members have it down!

The production crew deserves as much attention as the actors. Peter Rush’s costuming defines social class and offers its own humor. The wigs are remarkable, and they too are indispensible to the humor. Julia Welch’s ever-moveable set creates a ballet of its own as cast members dance the doors and panels across the stage while Andrew D. Smith’s lighting enhances comic effect.

Kudos to Director Allison Narver for putting together this delicious treat.

Through Nov. 19 at Center Theatre, in the Armory, Seattle Center, (206 733-8222 or www.seattleshakespeare.com).

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