The Government Inspector

Contact e-mail :


by Nikolai Gogol

a new adaptation by Philip Goulding

(Cast Size 7 min 19 max)




Salisbury Playhouse/Forest Forge Theatre Co UK - 6th March – 19th April 1997

Watermill Theatre, Newbury UK - 25th August – 3rd October 1998




The Government Inspector is an hilarious comedy about mistaken identity and council corruption in a small town. The premise is simple. A corrupt Mayor and his officials are alarmed to hear rumours of the impending arrival of a government inspector. Evidently this fellow will be travelling "incognito". Thrown into a panic, the Mayor and his officials desperately struggle to stifle public dissatisfaction whilst deflecting the blame for their many and various misdemeanours onto each other. But who is the government inspector and where is he hiding? He could of course be anyone. It is brought to their notice that an apparently penniless rake and his servant happen to be staying at the local inn. Despite the fact that they are unable to pay their bill, this unlikely couple suddenly find themselves being treated like royalty by the sycophantic mayor and his cronies. "The Government Inspector" eventually rides away a good deal richer, having sampled for free the best hospitality the small town could muster, including not just the finest food and drink, but also the feverishly competitive adoration of both the Mayor’s forceful wife, and his seemingly impressionable daughter. The truth of their dreadful mistake is finally revealed to the town, and just as the humiliated Mayor strives to apportion blame in order to restore some semblance of credibility, the arrival of the real inspector is announced, to the collective dismay of the assembled dignitaries. This version takes place in the 1860s in a small (fictional) town in Wessex.



"Gogol's splendid satire on greed, corruption and sleaze in not very high places"

(The Guardian)

Gogol’s great comedy...this new adaptation by Philip Goulding is

fresh and funny. ...The result is delicious

(The Stage) 

This hilarious and inventive adaptation… A great night out.

(Plays & Players)

Gogol’s great comic play... This adaptation by Philip Goulding is faithful to the classic work but gives a freshness to a gleeful peep at corruption in town life.

Romping, witty and incisive.

(Salisbury Journal)

This very funny play has been enhanced by the fresh air of a fine new adaptation and a vibrantly inventive production. An ensemble performance that is quite simply virtuosic.

(Sean Street - Bournemouth Echo) 

A fun, fast-paced tale cleverly adapted by Philip Goulding from Gogol’s play.

A real comic treat.

(Southern Daily Echo)

The action spins along at a cracking pace. Witty and racy.

(Western Daily Press)

Make no mistake, this is great. A sheer delight.

(Oxford Times)

Would that real Government was as entertaining to watch.

(Newbury Weekly News)


Biography of Philip Goulding

Back to the main page

Presentation and codification: Roland Michel Tremblay

© The Marginal Literature