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The Government Inspector

Members say: Funny, Entertaining, Great acting, Delightful, Clever
83
Critics
83
47 reviews
Members
83
277 reviews
 

Red Bull Theater presents an adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s deeply silly satire of small-town corruption. A riotous portrait of rampaging self-delusion starring Michael Urie ('Buyer & Cellar,' 'Ugly Betty').

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All politics are local. When the crooked leadership of a provincial village discovers that an undercover inspector is coming to root out their commonplace corruption, the town weaves a web of bribery, lies, and utter madness. Playwright Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation offers a reminder of the terrifying timelessness of bureaucracy and buffoonery.

 

Cast & Creatives (24)



Reviews (324)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
83
Avg Score

90
The New York Times

"The pleasures afforded by this breakneck show are as old as the days when cave dwellers discovered that human stupidity was really kind of funny, as well as potentially tragic...This dumb-and-dumber scale of values could easily lend itself to the broadest kind of mugging. But Mr. Berger has staged his 'Government Inspector' with a subversive straightforwardness...All the performances are dead serious in their ridiculousness, capturing the big egos beneath the small-town madness." Full Review

85
Theatermania

"An irreverent and highly watchable adaptation...The cast is full of great comedians...Director Jesse Berger creates this atmosphere of lunacy through a surprisingly compelling mixture of slapstick comedy and operatic design...Even if the staging is occasionally bungled, you won't want to miss a moment of this zippy two-hour production, which is full of laughs from beginning to end thanks to the unwavering commitment of the cast." Full Review

85
BroadwayWorld

"A gloriously silly mounting...Jesse Berger loads up the evening with terrific sight gags and wacky antics performed by a top-shelf cast...McGrath lays out a full arsenal of double takes, verbal timing and physical bits to give a master class on playing bellowing authority figures...Urie's physical shtick as the character gets more and more inebriated is matched in hilarity by the way the desperate town officials continue to treat him with reverence." Full Review

85
Time Out New York

"Humor is doled out generously in Red Bull Theater’s diverting production of Nikolai Gogol’s 1836 satire, zippily adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher...Distler’s bilevel set evokes a cartoon in the Sunday funny papers, and Jesse Berger’s talented cast of 14 commits hard to fill out its panels...Although the play’s lampoon of corruption is wide-ranging, it is tempered by the jovial spirit of farce, which feels like a mercy. There’s a lot to be said for shouting, but sometimes you just need to laugh." Full Review

85
The Huffington Post

"Gogol’s satire remains razor-sharp and Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation contemporizes the humor while keeping the action in Gogol’s dusty old provincial town...Urie is marvelous indeed...Director Jesse Berger does a thoroughly assured job, wrangling his clowns and keeping the laughter percolating...All in all, the Red Bull 'Inspector General' is bright, funny and as refreshing as a bowl of cold summer borscht crowned by two dollops of sour cream." Full Review

80
New York Theater

"What saves this play from a depressing relevance is the phenomenal physical clowning by Urie...Every one of the 14-member cast is positively vaudevillian in their portrayals, a testament not only to their own talents but to that of director Berger. But I was struck by Urie’s singular gift for physical comedy...The banter is courtesy of the adaptation by playwright Hatcher, which is so consistently funny that he’s excused for adding a twist at the end that doesn’t make very much sense." Full Review

40
Front Row Center

"There are two delicious reasons to see 'The Government Inspector.' The first is Michael Urie and the second is Arnie Burton...Jesse Berger’s direction feels flat and heavy. Everyone except Urie and Burton seems to be playing in what we think of as the broad style of 19th-century melodramas...There is no nuance, no inner life, no spark. The cast is not aided by the text...The text as written is either a poor translation or the original was as dull as a box of rocks." Full Review

75
Lighting & Sound America

"The good news is that Berger has rounded up a gaggle of first-class clowns and set them loose to play...Urie does double duty here as the production's motor, driving the increasingly frantic action while also earning plenty of laughs. He is an inspired choice...With each scene functioning as its own complete sketch and each line primed for comic blood, the action becomes a bit wearying. A more organically conceived production would, I think, have a stronger sense of progression." Full Review

60
The Huffington Post

"Berger’s amiable, too-soft revival of "The Government Inspector' remains this side of great, despite some strong lead actors and a classic text...An essential tension, the desperation that drives the best comedy is lacking here. Quite simply, the cast is having too much fun...Michael Urie is an appealing center to this storm...Mary Testa is simply too good to ever not be funny...Most everyone else, however, fades into the background." Full Review

90
The Huffington Post

"A snappy production…The farce hits its mark, while making a larger statement about the systemic nature of institutional greed and incompetence…Director Jessie Berger has assembled an excellent ensemble that delivers Gogol’s satiric slam at governmental fraud with glee…Urie is sensational…Indeed, the cast, like Alexis Distler’s sets and Tilly Grimes’ costumes, hits exactly the right note: fast and furious.” Full Review

85
Broadway Blog

“Hatcher adeptly slims Gogol's wordy original down to a lightning-fast two hours (with one intermission), uses doubling to allow a cast of 14 to play twice as many characters, and gives the dialogue a contemporary spin filled with punchy one-liners…Sometimes the production seems like a free-for-all game of ‘I can be funnier than you,’ the actors going as far overboard as they can to play up their clownish characters…The Red Bull's 'Government Inspector' passes inspection with flying colors.” Full Review

85
AM New York

"A big, brash and buoyant Off-Broadway revival...This is a high-energy, fast-paced production with gleefully over-the-top performances and door-slamming slapstick comedy. In one inspired gag, Urie (in a drunken stupor) stumbles off the elaborate two-story set (designed by Alexis Distler) and hangs on for dear life. Hatcher builds upon the play’s plotting with his own one-liners and sly winks to the audience." Full Review

90
The Clyde Fitch Report

"Gogol waxed broadly funny, as the revival of the play proves with great delight and close to nonstop entertainment. Jeffrey Hatcher’s knockabout translation is even more than that. Often, it’s unashamedly corny, which has the effect of proving that when farce is delivered this expertly, under such bold direction, with such over-the-top performing, artistic corn is sweet. The cast means no end to the rib-tickling and thigh-slapping." Full Review

90
Times Square Chronicles

“Under the hilarious direction of Jesse Berger, the insanely funny production is a night well spent at the theatre. Berger has collected a company of A-list actors at the top of their game…Michael Urie is adorable, Michael McGrath, superb, Mary Testa, over-the-top delicious. Arnie Burton, outrageously funny. For that matter the whole cast is utterly impressive and layered…Jeffrey Hatcher has created an adaption that brings to mind our present political dilemma.” Full Review

85
CurtainUp

"Loaded with laughs; but, like all good comedies, even those going way over the top, it's underpinned by all too real relevancy...I can't think of a better company than Red Bull Theater to give Hatcher's smartly modernized and streamlined adaptation a production to land every joke and double entendre...If I had to single out the funniest of these buffoons, it would be Arnie Burton as the nosy Postmaster...Good as all these actors are, it's clear that Michael Urie is very much the play's star." Full Review

81
Front Mezz Junkies

"Current and hysterically funny...This play, although hilariously simple in its setup, is quite devilish in its taking down of politicians...Michael Urie couldn’t be more appealing in this silly but very funny play...The impressive cast is large and hilarious in a 'Mr Bean' kind of way. They almost fall over themselves in this silly and ridiculous play, but in all the right kind of ways. The most fun I’ve had at the theatre since the equally madcap 'The Play That Goes Wrong.'" Full Review

90
Bob's Theater Blog

"Red Bull Theater is presenting Hatcher’s clever adaptation of Gogol’s 1836 comic masterpiece...This production’s biggest plus is the casting of Michael Urie...He demonstrates a previously unseen talent for physical comedy that is prodigious...Most of the other actors create vivid characters and work well as an ensemble...Red Bull’s artistic director Jesse Berger keeps things moving fluidly. If you enjoy farce and slapstick, well-performed, you will have an enjoyable time." Full Review

85
TheaterScene.net

"Hilarity reigns in this madcap revival...A Mel Brooks-style presentation with coarseness, slapstick, pratfalls and gags galore...Hatcher’s frothy adaptation is jocularly crammed with one-liners, zingers, anachronisms and double entendres...Berger’s fast-paced staging is an exuberant amalgam of physical and verbal virtuosity combined with visual flair...Michael McGrath dominates the show...A wonderful opportunity to experience the play’s timeless splendor." Full Review

80
Talkin' Broadway

"Where other productions of the play generally have invited us to appreciate its satire through the writer's cleverness and wit, everything here is thoroughly and unabashedly soaked in slapstick, farce, and low comedy...A marvelous romp of a production, which boasts richly comical performances by its wild and woolly cast. If you are in the mood for good, silly fun, 'The Government Inspector' will more than fill the bill." Full Review

90
CitiTour

"An exuberantly raucous revival...If you don’t find yourself guffawing out loud at least once or twice during this show, check to make sure your vocal cords are still intact...Director Jesse Berger has assembled some of the most physically and verbally dexterous performers around to act out this fable/cautionary tale...This tremendously talented troupe is led by the wiry, wily Michael Urie...Berger’s staging is often daring and consistently hilarious." Full Review

90
Woman Around Town

"What was once deemed exaggeration now seems as relevant as it does rollicking and absurd...Hatcher’s adaptation is quick and clever...Berger does a splendid job with physical comedy, timing, and use of Distler’s inspired, two-story, doll’s house environs...Though a well-oiled, Rube Goldberg machine, the day is carried by Michael Urie whose creativity, energy, focus and ebullience offer one of the great pleasures of a jam-packed theater season." Full Review

85
Wolf Entertainment Guide

"Jeffrey Hatcher’s spirited adaptation of Russian author Nikolai Gogol’s play 'Revizor' is broadly staged by Jesse Berger with hilarious results in this Red Bull Theater presentation. The cast is wonderfully up to the uproariously funny satire on government dishonesty...The entire company deserves much praise for providing the ensemble merriment...Much credit should go to director Berger, whose vigorously over-the-top staging gives an audience a rollicking good time." Full Review

85
Broadway & Me

"Hatcher has crafted an adaptation that's a bit too contemporary for my taste but I totally appreciate how director Jesse Berger has shamelessly plagiarized the playbooks of comic geniuses to squeeze every single laugh out of it...He's aided by a brilliant cast of clowns...We in the audience are most indebted to the always-appealing Urie, who is as adept at physical comedy as he is with a one-liner...The other 10 cast members, all masters of comedic timing, are funny as hell too." Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

"A refreshingly mindless comedy with an amazing cast that will have you rolling in the aisles...A hilarious Vaudevillian entertainment that manages to amuse for an entire two hours...The chemistry and timing between Urie and McGrath is perfect...The script is at once well-traveled and fresh...Under the impeccable direction of Jesse Berger, there are too many notable performances to mention them all...What we have here is just a wholesome, family-friendly, good ‘ole time. Enjoy it." Full Review

75
Theater Pizzazz

"A pleasantly chaotic production...Still resonates today, despite its outrageously farcical staging...A large contingent of cartoony characters are well drawn by a cast of gung-ho actors who have no fear of being over-the-top silly...Berger might have pulled in some of the high-spirited performances, particularly Mr. Urie’s in an extended drunk scene in which he made some anachronistic references...However, the overall mood was consistent and the pacing remarkable." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
83
Avg Score

96
Clever, Delightful, Dizzying, Enchanting, Hilarious

See it if You enjoy tour-de force comic acting, nonstop silliness, physical comedy and a great ensemble that is better than the material.

Don't see it if You want a faithful version of the classic or had slap stick and Monty Python type humor.

80
Funny, Clever, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy the mixture of classic and physical comedy .

Don't see it if You prefer subtle humor .

85
Hilarious, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want a high energy satire of political corruption, non-stop laughter, physical comedy; you love Michael Urie, Arnie Burton, Mary Testa

Don't see it if you don't like physical comedy or silliness; you want something intellectual or intense

81
Creative, Clever, Delightful, Relevant, Hysterical

See it if You love relevant farce told in the most delightful way!

Don't see it if If you don't like farce.

82
Funny, Clever, Refreshing, Great staging, Farcical

See it if you want to see Michael Urie & a very talented cast pull off an expertly timed farce that feels fresh, despite the play's nearly 200yo age.

Don't see it if you aren't in the mood for some unfettered fun.

85
Funny, Delightful, Refreshing, Entertaining, Farcical

See it if You love Michael Urie. He's great in this and it's a fun show that goes by quickly. Give in to the silliness!

Don't see it if You have no patience for farce, but then you'll miss out on the escapism with a feel of the here and now.

77
Funny, Ambitious, Delightful, Great writing

See it if you like historical fiction with a lot of slapstick like comedy. If you really like Michael Urey and Mary Testa.

Don't see it if don't like older plays based on Russian characters.

80
Delightful

See it if Enjoyed it.

Don't see it if You have many choices as there are many great shows.This should not be your first thought of something to see. This is a 2nd level play only

80
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you like farce and political parody. you want to see rising star (Michael Urie).

Don't see it if you don't want silliness or slightly predictable plot.

78
Funny, Clever, Dizzying

See it if You want to see a wonderful performance by Michael Urie

Don't see it if You can't appreciate over the top silliness.....

69
One joke, two hours

See it if plot development isn't important to keeping your interest.

Don't see it if plot development is important or you or you want even one character to care about.

79
Delightful, Great acting, Hilarious, Great staging, Zany

See it if Groucho meets Karl Marx, free-wheeling adaptation of classic Russian farce, screwball performances, Michael Urie merrily leads cast astray.

Don't see it if Not a serious bone in its body, if that's what you require.

90
Delightful, Great acting, Relevant, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a brilliant cast especially the fantastic Michael Urie perform an updated Russian classic to perfection with perfect timing,

Don't see it if you don't enjoy updated Russian classic plays that are still so relevant to today's government situations.

78
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if You would like to be entertained by clever writing and very good acting.

Don't see it if You are looking for a deep, meaningful story.

91
Funny, Ambitious, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if In need of a good evening out with some laughing and good feelings.

Don't see it if Your not into off broadway and you find it difficult to laugh.

75
Funny, Delightful, Quirky, Dated, Entertaining

See it if you want a farce that will make you laugh.

Don't see it if you want to see a dramatic production and/or you want a show with well-drawn characters.

68
Funny, Indulgent, Disappointing, Overrated, Fluffy

See it if you think flatterers and drunks are hilarious.

Don't see it if formulaic comedies annoy you. Outlandish coincidences, stock characters, malapropisms, or slapstick leave you unimpressed.

Also Good first: Urie plays a wonderfully useless cad with none of the mean... Read more Read less

73
Funny

See it if you like a good farce

Don't see it if you hate farce

89
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Hilarious, Great staging

See it if you want to laugh at the absurdity of it all

Don't see it if you are looking for serious drama

85
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if A good old fashioned "mistaken identity" comedy that gets everything right! Fun ensemble, clearly enjoying themselves - lots of laughs!

Don't see it if you can't bear any politics in your entertainment these days, even from 19th century Russia.

91
Hilarious, Entertaining, Fun, Great staging, Fluffy

See it if You want to be entertained by great actors performing a fun, physical farce. Non stop laughter and Michael Urie was amazing.

Don't see it if You are looking for serious theater. This is just fun and silly, but it is really well done.

Also The unique staging of this production truly enhanced it. Creative use ... Read more Read less

90
Clever, Delightful, Refreshing, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You like to laugh nonstop. This is a zany version of a Russian play making fun of incompetent government officials.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy political satire.

79
Funny, Delightful, Great staging, Fluffy, Great cast

See it if Great cast of comedic actors with Urie being quite adorable. The plot is good, non stop shenanigans and many laugh out loud moments.

Don't see it if Though I very much enjoyed the first act, the second was a little draggy and slow. Sometimes too much of a good thing can get tiresome.

78
Funny, Entertaining, Silly

See it if Like farce. Michael Urie is so enchanting though. Even if you don't like the show, you'll adore him. The cast does a good job.

Don't see it if You're not interested in a silly farce.

83
Clever, Hilarious, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You are in need of a laugh; non-stop physical comedy that provides a clever and entertaining experience; fantastic cast that are 100% on

Don't see it if You dislike physical comedies - it was borderline a little much for me but was well acted; want a serious or resonant theatre experience