There’s a reason why Studio 58 at Langara College is touted as one of the leading institutions for training the next generation of theatre artists. After attending the opening night performance of Nikolai Gogol’s satirical play, The Government Inspector, I left confident in recommending this show to others.
Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, The Government Inspector is a fun and over-the-top play that takes place in a small village in Russia. As the Mayor and townsfolk are notified that a government inspector will be paying a visit, they execute a plan to use rubles as a means to encourage the inspector to overlook some of the town’s imperfections.
Comedy is a genre that can be hard to do well for actors, moreso when it’s a larger-than-life farcical incorporating physical humour. With the direction of David Mackay, the ensemble cast of 22 breathe life to the many quirky and beautifully developed characters in the show. Amongst the cast, there are a few standout performances to acknowledge.
Stephanie Izsak, as the Mayor’s wife, Anna, was full of seamless timing, physicality, and subtlety which hit the peak of the over-the-top nature of her character without crossing the line into over-acting.
Tim W. Carlson’s lead performance as Ivan was wonderfully effortless. He held his own alongside Mayor Anton, played by veteran actor and Studio 58 alumnus, Joel Wirkkunen.
Katey Hoffman brings a layered quirkiness to the role of Postmistress which was a joy to watch each time she came on stage.
Incorporating her musical talent, Masae Day provided a key atmospheric element to the evening as the Music Captain. She was the first and last character on the stage and brought her accordion-playing buffoonery character during set changes. She didn’t get a lot of stage time but she was memorable and an important piece to the evening’s experience.
With Mara Gottler’s costume design and Pam Johnson’s set design added to the mix, The Government Inspector is a show that you should definitely see.
Not once over the span of the two-hours (with intermission) did I think about looking at my watch wondering when the show would end.
The Government Inspector runs daily, except Mondays, until December 2, 2012. Tickets and information at www.studio58.ca.