An Inspector Calls

The smoke machine is working overtime once again at Milton Keynes Theatre as the eerie thriller An Inspector Calls returns this week for a genuinely unique theatrical experience.

This 1992 revival of a literary classic centres on the middle class Birling family who are having a dinner party to celebrate their daughter’s engagement before a mysterious police inspector turns up to investigate the suicide of a young woman. As the truth unfolds, many secrets are revealed and lessons learned…

Things aren't what they seem as an unsettlingly small house at the centre of the set rises from buckled cobble stones surrounded by mist and actual rain as the show opens. The characters stoop to come out of the front door and as the whole front wall of the house swings open, it’s clear that something's not right...  But unlike The Play That Goes Wrong, this is a deliberately unsettling setup and frequently things aren't quite what they seem as characters look out at the audience or notice the curtain coming down, breaking the fourth wall.

Many of the cast from the production's last visit to MK three years ago are reprising their roles.  Liam Brennan returns in the starring role as Inspector Goole, once again bringing a confident swagger and believable sincerity to the role.  Christine Kavanagh also reprises her role as Mrs Birling with an emphatic intensity to her performance and Jeffrey Harmer returns as Arthur Birling.

There are also strong performances from Simon Cotton as Gerald Croft, Evlyne Oyedokun as Sheila Birling, George Rowlands as Eric Birling and Frances Campbell as Edna.

With very clever staging, atmospheric incidental music and enough symbolism to keep the packed audience of mostly GCSE English students busy for weeks, this is a haunting and memorable show with an important message – that we should all look out for each other, especially those in a privileged position in society – which is as relevant today as when it was first written. 


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