An Inspector CallsNovember 2009
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An Inspector Calls - by J. B. Priestley
Performed - Wed 11th to Sat 14th November 2009 at Blackfriars Theatre
It's a comfortable night in springtime and the Birling Family and Mr.Croft are celebrating the engagement of their daughter, Sheila, to Mr.Croft. It's all going so well the whole family are wallowing in their self pride. There is a knock at the door, an inspector calls. The inspector tells the group that there has recently been a suicide; by a girl named Eva Smith. As the inspector starts to break down the party, we start to understand more to the story and about the family.
Boston Playgoers' chose J. B. Priestley's popular play - and darling of the GCSE exam board - An Inspector Calls for its autumn production.
A sort of love letter to socialism, it tells the tale of a mysterious inspector interrogating a wealthy family over the suicide of a working-class girl. Boston Playgoers' faithful adaptation of the play successfully captured the moral complacency of the Birling household, and perhaps better their unrest as their connections with the girl were revealed. What may have been most striking about the production was the amount of humour.
When studying the play at school, I never thought it as having many laughs (if any) but quite naturally, the troupe found some welcome comic relief. This is not to suggest, however, they lost sight of its drama, and indeed, in the final act, newcomer Ben Long excelled as he revealed his character's raw hurt.
A subtle production quirk saw the set close in on the actors during the play; while one eagle-eyed theatregoer pointed out to me that Peter Kay's inspector did not touch anyone or anything, making him more spectre Ghoul than Inspector Goole. Good ideas, if perhaps a tad too subtle.
This was, then, an assured, as well as imaginative, take on Priestley's play.
David Seymour, Boston Standard
I was greatly impressed with Boston Playgoers production of this classic thriller by J. B. Priestley. The play was staged on a most appropriately designed and constructed set with the props and furniture carefully chosen to match the period.
Rachael Geddes directed a very capable team of actors who, without exception, delivered first-rate performances. The head of the Birling family (played by Stuart Bull) was full of his own importance, suitably authoritative and well partnered by his wife (Judy Mugleston) who provided steely support. Rachel Rowett, as the daughter Sheila, showed herself capable of compassion (unlike her parents) as did her brother, played by Ben Long. This was Ben's debut at Blackfriars and on this showing he has a very bright future. Gail Lingard made up the household group, playing the part of the maid with quiet dignity. Danny Chester-Bush was most convincing as Sheila's aristocratic suitor. Peter Kay as the police inspector carried out his incisive questioning in an admirable fashion, determined not to let anyone off the hook. This was superb entertainment. Well done all concerned!
Peter Breach, NODA
Actors names on right:
Mr Birling - Stuart Bull
Mrs Birling - Judy Muggleston
Gerald Croft - Danny Chester-Bush
Sheila Birling - Rachel Rowett
Eric Birling - Ben Long
Inspector Goole - Peter Kay
Edna - Gail Linguard
Director - Rachael Geddes
Producer - Kei Bailey
Stage Manager - Emma Dakari
Set Design - Rachael Geddes & Paul Gibson
Set Construction - Paul Gibson & members of society
Stage Crew - Kathryn Walker, John Lingard, David Lane, Wayne Waite
Costume - Violet Truelove Wardrobe
Furniture & Properties - Kirton Antiques, Kathryn Walker, Kate Eglinton
Sound / Lighting - Paul Gibson
Poster - Wayne Bowman
Programme - Valiant Visuals, Melissa Marlowe
Hair / Make Up - Kim Sands