The Government Inspector


An Inspector Calls

By John Peter
Sunday Times
December 28, 1997, Sunday

“Tom Hollander plays Khlestakov, the hard-up young Petersburg dandy who is mistaken for the government inspector, like an imperious little nincompoop, a Bertie Wooster of the steppes. This is a hilarious, beautifully accomplished and intelligent account of inspired and smug stupidity. It is clear, the moment you see him, that Khlestakov is all-pervadingly and blissfully dim, but also that this is combined with a low Neanderthal cunning. Add to this the dimwitted confidence of a spoilt young toff and you get an irresistibly funny comedy of panic, petulant indignation and the survival of the unfittest.”

Gogol in the Gorbals:

By Alastair Macaulay
Financial Times (London,England)
December 20, 1997, Saturday LONDON EDITION 1

“...Tom Hollander here plays the faux [inspector], Khlestakov, as a sort of Toad of Toad Hall: cartoony, arrogant, affected, and irrepressible. It is a performance of ideal vigour and impudence: Hollander, despite some exaggerated silly-voice artifice and several flourishes of eye-circling nonsense, has done nothing better. He's almost an Ab Fab character. At one point he announces to these buffoons the many books he has written - "Lots and lots, I can't remember them all, The Marriage of Figaro, The Three Musketeers, yah, yah yah" - with such airy indifference that he becomes intoxicating.”

THE GROTESQUE: Defective inspector;
Michael Billington longs to be terrified by Gogol's masterpiece

By Michael Billington
The Guardian (London)
December 20, 1997

“...It is only with the arrival of Tom Hollander's petty clerk, Khlestakov, that the comedy starts to exert its mythic power. With his pouting features and reddish Brillo-pad hair, Hollander has the look of a savage infant. Left on his own, he executes dainty little twirls in front of the mirror. Once people rush in and flatter him, he enters a realm of capricious fantasy, claiming, at one point, to have written The Marriage Of Figaro, Robinson Crusoe and The Three Musketeers."

Over the top on a trapeze
By Benedict Nightingale
The Times
December 19, 1997

“...Tom Hollander's Khlestakov is a contest in hysteria. It is often over the top, sometimes over the big top - yet, wonder of wonders, it never becomes embarrassing or unfunny.

Hollander is always the overgrown infant, whether he is hungry and half-blubbing in pettish self-pity, or somersaulting in terror from a Provost he thinks has come to arrest him, or gulping and narcissistically gurgling at the goodies coming his way, or flashing goofy, greedy smiles at the women pursuing him. As for McDiarmid, he moves from frenzied panic to feral glee as Khlestakov succumbs to his bribes. His Provost is not the "dignified" figure Gogol specified. Rather, he's an insecure slum kid who has risen to become a roughhouse street operator and, at his moment of maximum hubris, is the Gorbals tyrant in excelsis.”

A play by Nikolai Gogol
Jonathan Kent, Director
(adapted by John Byrne)
Company: Almeida Theatre Company
Venue: The Almeida Theatre , London
Dec.17, 1997
Feb. 3-7, 1998

Iain Andrew
Kern Falconer
Tom Hollander
Kathryn Howden
Moray Hunter
Peter Kelly
Ronnie Letham
Alex McAvoy
Iain McColl
Ian McDiarmid
Stuart McQuarrie
Brian Murphy
Terry Neason
Brian Pettifer
Dirk Robertson
Tom Watson

Finalist for the 1997 Sunday Times-Royal National Theatre Ian Charleson Award



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