Centre Stage Theatre Company
by Alba Lopes Da Silva
For their first play of the semester, Centre Stage Theatre Company presented an original adaptation from a 1836 play by Russian writer Nikolai Gogol – an author you may know for his grotesque and surrealist texts. The original play, The Inspector Governor, set in Imperial Russia, was brilliantly transposed into the backdrop of authoritarian Soviet Russia by Centre Stage. The result was a fantastic black comedy with moments of utter hilarity that will be hard to forget.
The Inspector is a story about a corrupt cohort of officials in Soviet Russia mistaking an insignificant civil servant for a high-ranking Inspector of the state. To hide their wrong-doings and corruption, these officials are desperately willing to do anything to bribe the ‘Inspector’ and win him into their favours. The play has no sympathetic character as every single character is corrupt to the core and only thinks about personal gain.
The play was perfectly performed by the actors; the acting was hilariously over-the-top while still remaining natural and genuine. Every actor was committed to the play and, despite a few slip ups there and then, each managed to bring their talent and qualities to it. The biggest slip up (so to speak of), created a moment of amusement which could easily have been mistaken for a scripted part of the play – this only goes to show the talent of the actors.
The cast had to work with minimal setting in a slightly too small venue (in the MacRobert Building on campus); ‘We have had issues in the past finding suitable spaces in Aberdeen with the right equipment for our performances’, says Centre Stage. Yet, the venue didn’t impact the quality of the play at all in my opinion. Their use of music and songs - most of them being Soviet era songs - was extremely well managed and rendered the play atmospheric and real. Their choice of costumes was also very well done; everyone looked genuine in their role.
The only critique I can think of is that some of the actors spoke somewhat too fast. However, this is an issue easily forgettable once you are fully immersed into the play.
All in all, Centre Stage presented an amazing performance. If you have missed it, don’t be bummed, they will be presenting two other plays before the end of the semester: Bull by Mike Bartlett on the 20th and 23rd of March, and And then there were none by Agatha Christie on the 25th and 28th of March. Seeing the talent of this group, I highly recommend going to see their productions!