Liam Brennan- Inspector Goole
Geoff Leesley – Mr. Birling
Caroline Wildi – Mrs. Birling
Matthew Douglas – Gerald Croft
Katherine Jack – Sheila Birling
Hamish Riddle – Eric Birling
Diana Payne-Myers – Edna
Show Date – Wednesday 10th February 2016
Now this is one of those plays that I have wanted to see for quite some time, you know doing it in English at GCSE and just wanting to see it properly live on stage instead of different people in class reading the parts. Ok so that was now a very long time ago . . . But it was fantastic to see a lot of school groups at the theatre for the performance as I really think it would have helped to see it acted out. It certainly still holds a lot of magic, not bad for a play that was written and first performed back in 1945!
The Birling family are having a pretty grand evening, celebrating the engagement of Sheila to Gerald Croft. In very good spirits and not having a care in the world for anyone else apart from the people in the room. Everything was about to change however as Mr. Birling was boosting and telling the younger men to always think about themselves when an Inspector was about to turn their perfect happy world well and truly upside down.
I will admit that I was massively curious to see how it was going to work on the stage with all of the events happening in one room. I will admit that I was blown away by the set up on the stage, as they sat in the house with a few things happening outside mainly a small boy looking around who was fantastic I must add. I was sat in the second row on the end seat and had the Inspector standing right next to me, which was pretty amusing as I thought it was a latecomer! To begin with I thought the house would stay in the form you see it in the above picture but that was certainly not the case as the Inspector arrived and it opened out.
Such an inspired and artistic feel to the production as the house burst open and the questioning/discussions took place in a mixture of in the house around the table and using the rest of the stage as a breakout area. The Inspector at first wants to speak to Mr. Birling as a young girl died in the infirmary after killing herself in a truly awful manner. The thing is though he is not interested in the slightest that his involvement began an awful couple of years and the death of the girl.
It wasn’t going to just end there though as we are taken along many roads of deceit as we find an intertwined tale of how something small you do to someone can in the end destroy them. Each person in the room having a jolly time that night is about to be shown as something else when awful things they have done are brought to the boil as the Inspector has a way to get people to talk and tell him of this mysterious girl. He even has a photograph which he shows to different people at different times. I won’t go into too much detail around each part of the story, you have to head out to see this fantastic play to get all of that!
It really is remarkable that we can still learn so much from a story that was written in 1945 still plays a part today. We should always think about how our actions can define us and really leave truly awful consequences for others.
I was truly amazed to read in the programme that this is Hamish Riddle’s professional acting debut show, honesty he was incredible and has one of the hardest parts to play in my opinion. Which made him fit in perfectly with a superb cast who all were as strong as each other bringing the characters to life with such strong performances. I loved Liam Brennan as the Inspector as he really brought so many layers to the role and I thought the removal of jacket, tie and rolling up the sleeves as we get to see his patience running out with this group of upper class people.
I really did love this production and thought the opening was very powerful along with the music at the perfect moments really sending a shiver through your body as you struggle to understand how people could be so cruel allowing it to also make you judge yourself and if you could end up being part of someone’s downward spiral, truly powerful and incredible material. Not to mention some special effects that will make you jump out of your seat!
Please try and catch this one if it has not already been to a theatre near you as part of it’s 2015/2016 tour!