|Belvoir St Theatre|
You have announced that you are staging 'The Philadelphia Story' and have sold loads of tickets and then learn you don't have the rights to stage the work. What to do? In the case of Belvoir St Theatre you decide to stage 'The Government Inspector' instead. Except that the play you stage is not actually Nikolai Gogol's 'The Government Inspector' but a play inspired by Gogol's 'The Government Inspector' called 'The Government Inspector'.
Well that is what Belvoir Street Theatre (in conjunction with Melbourne's Malthouse Theatre) did. The work commences with a helpful explanation about the loss of rights for the originally intended staging and that staging's substitution by another work and that we, the audience, will not be seeing either work. That is the prelude for 80 minutes of fun and games as a theatrical company battles hidden and mistaken identities to get a work to stage.
It is quite a clever idea using the reality of the lost rights and the dramatic mechanisms of the announced substitute to produce another work altogether that makes fun of the actual situation. Hidden identities are a feature in both 'The Philadelphia Story' and Nikolai Gogol's 'The Government Inspector'.
The creative team and the performers have conjured up an enjoyable entertainment throwing inhibitions out of the window and making fun of themselves and the situation whilst doing so.
This Government Inspector may not be as witty as a Philadelphia Story but it is arguably funnier than the Government Inspector from which it gained its inspiration.
The play may drag occasionally but overall it provides plenty of fun for those who enjoy an inside glimpse of theatre life.