Review: An Inspector Calls at the New Theatre, Cardiff

AN INSPECTOR CALLS at the New Theatre in Cardiff. This mysterious tale will keep you gripped on every word with is brilliant cast and breathtaking set design.  

Many of us may have fond memories of An Inspector Call’s thanks to its long-standing place on the school curriculum but, for those that don’t, the story follows that of the wealthy and affluent Birling family in the fictitious town of Brumley in 1912. They are gathered to celebrate the engagement of daughter Shelia (EVLYNE OYEDOKUN) and her fiancé, Gerald Croft (SIMON COTTON). The business-minded Mr Birling (JEFFREY HARMER) and the stuffy Mrs Berling (CHRISTINE KAVANAGH) host for the evening as celebrations continue, and their son Eric (GEORGE ROWLANDS) becomes more intoxicated. Soon, however, things take a strange turn as the mysterious Inspector Goole (LIAM BRENNAN) appears to put a dampener on the festivities. 

Despite its Britishness, this 1945 play was first performed in the soviet union before moving to Broadway and, eventually, the UK just a year later. Penned by JB PRIESTLEY, this is an iconic piece of theatre. 

This production is directed by Stephen Daldry who you may know as the Oscar-nominated director of the likes of Billy Elliot, The Reader and The Crown. Daldry is somewhat synonymous with the play after a successful West End run in 1994-1995, a Broadway run the year after, and two more returns to the play in 2016-17. 

The thing about classic plays is that, sometimes, they can feel a little too classic. This production feels fresh and exciting while remaining true to what audiences want to see. The set design by IAN MACNEIL is what really stands out here. The dollhouse-like building that houses the Birlings at the start of the show opens up, along with the members of the household.  

Its intricate details are clearly visible to the audience, showing us the picture-perfect life of this upper-middle-class family. The skewered perspective of the street mirrors that perfectly. It feels dim and darkened against the pristine of the townhouse

The set is matched perfectly with eerie lighting by RICK FISHER and haunting music by STEPHEN WARBECK. Although a play about the moral downfalls of a capitalistic mindset may not seem like the perfect Halloween night out, you’d be surprised how chilling this play really can be. 

You no doubt will share the theatre with lots of school children, but that just demonstrates why this production is so worth a watch; it truly appeals to every generation. While the story of An Inspector Calls takes place in 1912, don’t be mistaken in thinking this isn’t any less relevant than when it first made its West End debut over 77 years ago. 

An Inspector Calls is selling fast, so don’t delay in booking those tickets. It will run at The New Theatre in Cardiff until the 22nd of October (Saturday), with a performance nightly at 7:30 pm. 2:30 pm manatee performances will be held on Thursday and Saturday. To Find out more and to book your tickets, click here.

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