An Inspector Calls @ The Lyceum
Director Stephen Daldry sends a poignant message of humanity with his production of An Inspector Calls.
The Lyceum plays host to a full house tonight as J. B. Priestley’s play draws in everyone from school children to more mature theatre goers.
Daldry uses his space wisely from the get go, as a small boy runs through the audience and takes to the stage. When the set is finally revealed, Daldry’s spectacular expressionist vision of 1912 makes clever use of extras; children provide a representation of the working class, delivering silent, yet strong social context throughout the narrative. The added use of pyro and the setting of the mini mansion takes the ‘dining room drama’ to another level, and translates the setting to the stage for 2016.
Hamish Riddle as Eric Birling delivers an entertaining performance which provides some much needed comic relief during the show, whilst Katherine Jack as daughter Sheila Birling holds the audience tightly throughout and shows the character’s realisation and emotional journey straight on the surface. Both Geoff Leesley and Caroline Wildi as Mr and Mrs Birling provide convincing depictions of the pre-war, older generation and play J. B. Priestley’s characters perfectly, highlighting the stark generational differences, a key component of the play.
Double bluff? Triple Bluff? Apparition or otherwise, the classic ending of J. B. Priestley’s work is iconic and delivered perfectly. Liam Brennan as Inspector Goole provided a powerful performance, bringing everything from laughs to gasps and even intense speeches of human kindness.
The political element of An Inspector Calls remains still within its context, yet also fits with the zeitgeist of today. In a time of student Doctor strikes and austerity, the seventy one year old critique of the upper classes and its importance of human connections, has never been more relevant.