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L.A. Beat

The Government Inspector finds the funny side of government corruption

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Everybody loves a comedy, so lots of people came out to audition for Morris Panych’s reinterpretation of Russian playwright Nikolai Gogol’s “The Government Inspector,” the first main stage production of the year for the University of Lethbridge.
 It runs Oct. 18-22  every night in the university theatre.Andrew Legg, Devon Brayne and Andrew Merrigan rehearse the Government Inspector. Photo by Richard Amery

“He adapted  it from the Russian play by Gogol and really brought it out with  contemporary language and sensibilities,” said director Nicholas Hanson, University of Lethbridge prof and New West Theatre artistic director.

He has enjoyed directing this production, though he just finished directing both of New West’s summer shows.
“It’s a group of really funny and dedicated people who have come together to  create a really  vibrant play that the audience is really going to enjoy,” he said.

“We had an extremely high number of students who expressed interest in being part of it,” Hanson said.

Most of the cast are experienced veterans are  about to graduate, so they are looking forward to strutting their stuff. The Government Inspector happens in a small rural Russian town where the local officials love to embezzle, cheat, and steal – until news of a surprise visit from a government inspector sends them into a panicked frenzy. A classic case of mistaken identity triggers a hilarious series of events, providing a satirical examination of governments and greed.

The 16 member cast includes a lot of familiar faces from New West Theatre as well as Playgoers of Lethbridge productions, including Andrew Merrigan from Playgoers of Lethbridge, who was also in last year’s production of Shakespeare’s Richard III as well as Devon Brayne and Andrew Legg who were in the last couple New West Theatre’s musical revues.

Andrew Legg, Devon Brayne and Andrew Merrigan. Photo by Richard Amery“It’s about government corruption,” explained Devon Brayne, who plays Khlestakov, the “government inspector.”
“He’s an actor and a con man who inadvertently is mistaken for the government inspector,” he continued.

Andrew Legg described his character of Bobchinsky and Merrigan’s Dobhinsky as the mayor’s lackeys who are like “Tweedledee and Tweedledum.”

“We’re the mayor’s muscle,” he said describing them as being a little gullible, which ends up being great comedic fodder.

“We’re government officials, but not very good ones. We’re two comedic characters who have a lot of laughs,” Merrigan noted.
 They have been rehearsing since the school year began in September.

“They’ve created a really wonderful piece of theatre,” Hanson said.

“The students really want to show how much they have grown during their time here,” Hanson continued.

Tickets to The Government Inspector are $15 regular, $10 for seniors/students, available at the University Box Office, Monday – Friday 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm, or by calling (403) 329-2616.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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