My Shrewsbury reviewer David Ballinger gives his verdict on the National Theatre production of An Inspector Calls at Theatre Severn this week - until September 24th, 2022.
There’s an air of mystery and suspense at Theatre Severn this week – Inspector Goole is in town.
Stephen Daldry’s production of JB Priestley’s An Inspector Calls is marking the 30th anniversary of its debut at the National Theatre on this tour, with Shropshire the second stop.
And it was brilliant to see the theatre packed for opening night, including plenty of school parties, with everyone rooted to their seats for nearly two hours as the action on stage unfolded – no intervals here.
Priestley’s play, written at the end of the Second World War and set just before the First, is a powerful drama highlighting the dangers of capitalism’s self-interest, industry and commerce over compassion and community. With the cost of living crisis engulfing us, its themes seem more relevant than ever.
It begins with the prosperous Birling family celebrating the engagement of their daughter at their home in the industrial north Midlands, only for the arrival of Inspector Goole investigating the suicide of a young girl to bring an abrupt halt.
He then proceeds to peel away the layers to expose the truth behind each of the characters' actions and their part in the story.
Liam Brennan is excellent as Inspector Goole, bringing a human touch to the role which can seem aloof, questioning the family members in meticulous detail as he exposes their actions and consequences.
The role of the daughter Sheila is brought firmly front and centre by Evlyne Oyedokun in a dynamic performance with excellent timing to bring a social conscience to the play.
The striking set brings the production out of the dining room of the family home into an almost post-apocalyptic world of smoke, grime, dirt and rain.
There was a definite buzz among the audience as they reflected on the production as they left the auditorium – always a good sign.
It runs until Saturday, there are still a few seats available – don’t miss it.
Tickets available from Theatre Severn HERE