An Inspector Calls is a classic play by J B Priestley and tells the story of a single night in April 1912. It’s the story of the Birling family who are a middle class family, living in an industrial city in the Midlands.
An Inspector does indeed call on this family, known as Inspector Goole, who is investigating the suicide of Eva Smith. The Inspector interrupts an engagement celebration of Sheila Burling to Gerald Croft. Gerald is from a very good family and the union is a step up for the Burling family. In fact Mr Burling makes it clear to Gerald that he may even be knighted and for Gerald to hint about this to his mother for her to accept the forthcoming marriage.
Inspector Google questions each family member in turn – but is Goole all you expect him to be?
This play is a classic and was first performed in 1945 but has since been performed many times over the years and also made into a film and on TV. Stephen Daldry’s production of this play has won more awards than any other play in history and now Milton Keynes Theatre audience gets a chance to see why.
Liam Brennan plays the infamous Inspector Goole and gives a sterling performance of the inspector. He brings a presence to the role and although not usually emotional, he does whatever he needs to, to get the confessions out of the individuals he is interrogating.
Geoff Leesley plays Mr Birling and gave us a strong performance of an old school self-made man with a great northern accent. Mrs Birling is played by Caroline Wildi and her portrayal of that ‘we are better than them’ attitude to her character was exemplary. There is an air of ‘Sybil’ from Faulty Towers about her too. Their daughter Sheila is played by Katherine Jack and her flighty yet emotional development of the character who grows up during the performance is perfect. Matthew Douglas gives you a kind hearted Gerald Croft and he certainly made the role his own with his loving portrayal of his character. And a special mention to Hamish Riddle who plays Eric, Sheila’s brother. He was perfect for the role and gave an excellent performance of a young rich and foolish man who isn’t quite sure of the direction his life is going in. This is an excellent cast of some very talented actors who really bring the play to life.
There was no interval for this show which means the dramatic atmosphere is not lost throughout the show and builds to a tangible tension towards the end of the show.An Inspector Calls is currently being used for GCSE English exams, but you don’t need to be studying English to enjoy this play. It is absolutely fantastic.
Originally published for the About Milton Keynes website.