The mayor and local officials of a small provincial town in Russia have got it made: corruption is rife and they have all the power. Yet, when they learn that an undercover government inspector is about to make a visit, they face a mad dash to cover their tracks. Soon, the news that a suspicious person has recently arrived from St Petersburg and is staying in a local inn produces a series of events and misunderstandings that lead to a hilarious dénouement.
Often quoted as Russian literature’s greatest comedy, The Government Inspector is a trenchant satire of the corruption, greed and stupidity of petty officialdom, and the crowning achievement of Gogol’s skills as a playwright.
Translated by Roger Cockrell