A thriller and a bit of a chiller with def no filler
I arrived at Milton Keynes Theatre last night to an unmistakably shift in seasons. Autumn is here. It was drizzling, the sun had set and me, without a coat was definitely trying not to shiver as we queued to be let in. In the wrong queue too, as I was swept up into a queue of a thousand school trip kids who must be doing An Inspector Calls at school! 😂
Regarding the queues outside the building at Milton Keynes Theatre. Limiting/ticket checks (once was covid passes too) for access into the theatre at performance times is nearly second nature now, but at some performances that can mean queuing up as far as TGI Fridays, which is a mission. I hope it speeds up for the colder months. Using roped queue lines so guests know were to line up and maybe more people scanning tickets would be fab please! 🤞🏼
But for tonight, I was finally inside. The drizzle thankfully didn’t amount to much and I was eagerly taking my seat in the stalls for J. B. Priestley’s play An Inspector Calls. (Row H seats 5 + 6 if you want to check the seat view below)
This National Theatre production of An Inspector Calls, directed by Stephen Daldry is now the longest running revival of a play in history. Impressive huh. With spectators wondering if it’ll achieve, in time, maybe a length of service akin to The Mousetrap.
An Inspector Calls first hit the boards in London in 1992 and since then its been here (UK), there (Australia and the US) and everywhere (including 8 national tours!).
But on the stage you don’t get to move anywhere. It’s 1912. Someone’s died. An Inspector calls by the wealthy Birling family, who are in the midst of a celebration. Their daughter is marrying into another wealthy family, and all is tickety boo. But that doesn’t stop the inspector who would like to speak with everyone.
Can the death of someone far more unfortunate, far removed, far distant in time and space and fortune than themselves be anything to do with them? Surely not. Or?
An Inspector Calls could be easily romanticised by its age and seen as a period piece or a whodunnit, but instead all that gets smashed away by Stephen Daldry, becoming as intangible as the mist that floats around the stage. Instead turning the spotlight to the gripping questioning and realisation that it doesn’t matter who we are, we all can be called to be interviewed by the inspector.
In the 1940’s it must’ve SCREAMED social relevance and for 2022? Pfft. You know the score.
Liam Brennan as Inspector Goole was everything you’d want (and not want to meet) as an Inspector.
With Jeffrey Harmer and Christine Kavanagh as Arthur and Sybil Birling.
Evlyne Oyedokun as Sheila Birling and Simon Cotton as her new fiancé Gerald Croft.
George Rowlands as Eric Birling and Frances Campbell as a captivating Edna.
Seeing all the school students attending last night, An Inspector Calls must be part of the English Literature curriculum and how amazing for them to see a script brought to life like this production does. A friend who also attended last night said they studied An Inspector Calls for their GCSEs many moons ago and it went past them then, but last night, they got it. I wonder if that was down to the explosive staging or just being seasoned by the world. Probably a bit of both but I don’t doubt seeing this at any age is going to leave its mark.
An Inspector Calls is at Milton Keynes Theatre Tuesday 27 September – Saturday 1 October 2022
Tickets were kindly gifted by Milton Keynes Theatre but they have zero control over what I post, or say about the performance – that’s all me! Thank you for your support. 🖤