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An Inspector Calls

Did anyone read An Inspector Calls when they were in school? I remember that play being one of my favourites in English, and we would have to read a page at a time in class but I skipped ahead because it was so intriguing.

An Inspector Calls is a play by J. B. Priestley which focuses on the upper-class Birling family. They are visited one evening by an Inspector Goole who is investigating the suicide of a young working-class woman, Eva Smith. I remember the twists and turns in the play that kept me gripped throughout and the ending had me shouting, “WHAT THE EFF?” 

Mutay and I went to see An Inspector Calls at Playhouse Theatre last March and it was AMAZING. 

I found out that this adaptation of An Inspector Calls is by Stephen Daldry who recently directed Netflix’s The Crown, which is fantastic, and that the production marks 25 years since it first opened at the National Theatre. 

We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.

I really enjoyed the actors’ performances especially Liam Brennan as Inspector Goole; he was unapologetically abrasive, projected barely suppressed rage, and was baffled by the Birling’s complacency. He had complete control of the play’s narrative, something which I noticed about the character when reading the play, and it was great to see that develop in front of my eyes. 

Every actor, however, seemed to fit their role perfectly. From Mr Birling’s pompous attitude because he may be getting a knighthood, Sheila’s childishness because Eva Smith happened to look better in a dress that she wanted, Eric’s drunkenness that is seemingly ignored until it all comes to a head and right down to Mrs Birling’s putting on airs and graces because she is the head of a women’s charity. Yet when a woman is in dire need of help, she rejects her.

I feel like this play is very relevant, especially now in today’s climate, and it can’t be a coincidence that this play opened soon after Donald Trump was elected as president. Despite being set in 1912, actually written in 1944, this play is timeless and can be interpreted as an attempt to align its morals and lessons to the politically turbulent ground we’ve currently been having.

Priestley’s play is a direct plea for all of us to remember that we should work together, not against each other.

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