So, I am back online and we are back with our first production of 2014, a cracking translation of Nikolai Gogol’s ‘The Government Inspector’ which we will be bringing to ‘larger than life’ over the next couple of months for performance on March 20th-22nd, and not a moment too soon. , The continued frustration of ongoing injury has meant me missing out on a couple of interesting theatrical opportunities and so it is great to have chance to throw one’s energies into a new project and a mighty ambitious one at that. With a cast of over twenty, numerous comings and goings and some potential for elaborate costume and set, this is a world away from the minimalist adventures of ‘All the Great Books’, ‘The Compleat Works’ and ‘Talking Heads’, indeed it has potential to be positively epic! And very, very funny. The read-through at the weekend was testament to that, with many titters and laugh out loud moments around the table at David Harrower’s sparky, punchy and incisive adaptation of the original. I can assure you that this is not dry 19th century Russian literature but fresh, up to date, contemporary comedy filtered through the slapstick anarchy of ‘The Young Ones’ and ‘Bottom’, the surrealism of ‘The Mighty Boosh’, the social satire and biting acidity of ‘Blackadder’ with a touch of ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’, Vic and Bob and Morecambe and Wise thrown in alongside a side-order of baroque pantomime. And if you have no idea what that actually amounts to then you really will have to see the play.
It has, of course, been a wrench diverting from the proposed ‘Accrington Pals’ project and it is my hope that we will still go ahead with that in some form, but the stars seem to have aligned to suggest that the time was better suited to undertake this Russian classic. And it is not difficult to see why this play has been revived so many times in recent years with such comic actors as Rik Mayall, Alistair McGowan, Julien Barrett (pictured above) powering through this comic masterpiece; and for those of a slightly earlier vintage, even Tony Hancock had a go at it. It is greater pleasure still that our version will be populated by Matchbox members old and new, young and…slightly not so young. It promises to be a barnstorming three nights, hilarious, entertaining and though provoking to boot. I hope therefore you will join us over the next few weeks and tune in to developments from rehearsals, insider tales and fresh insights as well as a return to nostalgia and a few extra trinkets and ruminations about this funny old world of amateur theatre. I look forward to sharing them with you.
Until next time