The Covid Inspector

Date 17th May 2021
Society Compton Players
Venue Via Zoom - online
Type of Production Play
Director Helen Saxton


Author: Chris Horton

THE Covid Inspector written by Pete Watt and directed by Helen Saxton is a play about mistaken identity, deception and self-deception when the Mayor of a town, in present day UK, mistakenly identifies a conman for a Covid Inspector.   The town is expecting a visit but conclusions are jumped to, and the Mayor takes advantage of his position to gain favour with the ‘Inspector’.  It is loosely based on the 1836 play ‘The Government Inspector’ by Nikolai Gogol who, allegedly, based his play on a quote by Pushkin.   The lies came thick and fast and we know, from the start, that things will not end well for anyone, apart from the supposed Covid Inspector.  

Filmed in various homes, a variety of backgrounds were used and some artificial backgrounds (a hotel room in a Travel Lodge) was used in keeping with the story.  

The costumes were in line with the story and costumes changed, when necessary i.e dressing up for a posh dinner.  There was good attention to detail and the cast had given some thought to their characterisation, through costume.

Pete Watt introduced the evening and explained, due to the current health crisis, plans had to be put on hold for the original Spring 2021 production of Beyond a Joke.  He hoped that normal service would resume soon!  For this production, a cast of characters with comedy names was assembled.  Among the joke names we had: Arthur Rittick (the hospital director), Owen Cash (the conman), Roland Butter (a hotel employee), Helen Back (the postmistress) and Eileen Down (the Clerk to the Council).  The action follows an entry level civil servant Owen Cash when he is mistakenly identified as the Covid Inspector.  He takes full advantage of all, extracting money from practically everyone and flatters his way into the home of the Mayor (extracting an advance of £75,000 for his supposed marriage to the Mayor’s daughter) and flattering his wife.  The embellished stories and exaggeration continue through the evening with mentions of confusing and conflicting advice: work/don’t work?   Work from home if you can/use public transport/don’t use public transport?  Go out to support the economy/stay home to protect the NHS….  With great characterisation from the entire cast, this play, based on the political corruption, bribery, greed and bureaucracy rife in 1830s is still relevant today. 

Congratulations to all for technical expertise, innovation and imagination in bringing this story to life.