‘The Government Inspector’ funny warning of corruption | THE DAILY HERALD

Scene from “The Government Inspector” (Annemiek van Kerkhof photo)

Joe Dominque as “The Governor.” (Annemiek van Kerkhof photo)


PHILIPSBURG–Behind the Beyond Foundation presented three performances of the classic Russian ironic comedy “The Government Inspector” at Philipsburg Cultural Centre on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The audience highly appreciated the comedy of mistaken identity by renowned novelist and dramatist of Ukrainian origin Nikolai Gogol.

The show premiered on Friday evening at an almost-sold-out Cultural Centre, with the audience clearly enjoying the play which focuses on the character of the government inspector, a high-ranking 19th century government official paying an undercover visit to a country town for an audit, as it is his role to prevent fraud and corruption while helping those in need.

His arrival in town causes much confusion and stress, especially when Ivan Alexandrovich Khlestakov, an official from St. Petersburg played by entrepreneur Raphael Dorra, makes the most of this case of mistaken identity.

Although originally published in 1836, the play has lost none of its relevance for the 21st century, as its subject is corruption and the abuse of power in local government.

In this play Gogol shows a lot of unsightly features of modern life, including bribery and neglect of duty, embezzlement and servility, ambition and passion for gossip, envy, boasting, stupidity and petty vindictiveness.

Play director Albina Matuzko made the most of adapting the play for a modern-day St. Maarten audience by inserting some local references to cases of corruption and to the never-ending dump fires, which drew peals of laughter from the crowd.

Dressed in beautifully-designed and often grotesque costumes and wearing ditto wigs, the amateur actors, inspired and fired on by Matuzko during rehearsals, put on a tremendous show which deserves performances in a state-of-the-art theatre.

However, Behind the Beyond’s volunteers, led by Matuzko’s partner-in-life Cor Sikkes, managed to transform the rundown Cultural Centre into a locale from the times of czars, making the audience forget all about their surroundings.

Every one of the actors performed his or her role with verve, but special mention should go to journalist and visual artiste Joe Dominique as The Governor and to civil law notary Meredith Boekhoudt, who displayed her talent as a comic actress in the role of Marya Antonova.

Karin Koster, who came from the Netherlands especially for this play, played the roles of housekeeper, maid, town musician and petitioner, and entertained the audience during the intermissions.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/77717-the-government-inspector-funny-warning-of-corruption