Heads Up: The Government Inspector

Barratt's break – from Mighty Boosh to nightly boards
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The Independent Culture

What are we talking about?

A new production of Nikolai Gogol's satire of small-town bureaucracy and corruption.

Elevator Pitch

Gogol a-go-go for comedy stars.

Prime Movers

Richard Jones, who arrives decked with Olivier awards for his theatre and opera work, and most recently was at the helm of Anna Nicole. David Harrower, who also penned Knives in Hens and Blackbird (another Olivier winner), provides a new translation. Miriam Buether, the innovative and – of course – award-winning set designer responsible for the snaking stage of Earthquakes in London at the National last year, lends her vision.

The Stars

Julian Barratt –The Bunny and the Bull, Nathan Barley, and best known as Howard Moon in the The Mighty Boosh – takes to the stage with Doon Mackichan of Smack the Pony, Brass Eye and Knowing me, Knowing You. Kyle Soller, who has impressed with roles in productions of The Glass Menagerie and The Talented Mr Ripley, also stars.

The Early Buzz

There's been interest in Barratt's "striking out on the stage", as Time Out phrased it, "as the unscrupulous Mayor in Nikolai Gogol's classic satire...The setting is Tsarist Russia, the occasion a visit from an incognito out-of-towner (Kyle Soller) whom the corrupt bureaucrats mistake for a government inspector, exposing their hypocrisy with such biting wit that Vladimir Nabokov was led to call The Government Inspector 'the greatest play in the Russian language'." Mackichan has been tweeting her enthusiasm – and stagefright: "Will be playing the mayors wife...julian barrett [sic] playing mayor, ding dong whooo"; "very excited + shittingit".

Insider Knowledge

It's not Barratt's first crack at a Russian play; he appeared in a Sky Arts TV version of Chekhov's The Bear last year.

It's great that...

Mackichan has already proved her credibility as a stage actress; she's appeared in Loot at the Tricycle, A Respectable Wedding at the Young Vic and Boeing Boeing in the West End.

It's a shame that...

Attention may just focus on whether Barratt can make a similar telly-to-board-treading transition.

Hit Potential

The combination of a cracking creative team and a couple of cult comedians should be a winner.

The Details

The Government Inspector is at Warwick Arts Centre, 23 to 28 May, and at the Young Vic, London SE1, 3 June to 9 July.