REVIEW: An Inspector Calls, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, until April 9.

Superb acting all round ensures that the play itself remains the star of the show '“ despite a production which has probably had its day.

Friday, 8th April 2016, 3:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:41 pm

Stephen Daldry’s bold reimagining of J B Priestley’s classic in the 1990s rescued the play from dusty revivals and possible obscurity.

But these days, Daldry’s production seems as dated as the productions it was trying to replace.

The silent onlookers, the endless, frankly-bizarre fiddling with the curtains, the bomb-site set and the sparking collapsible house, plus the heavy-handed bursts of music every time there is something we really shouldn’t miss, seem to stand in the way of a play which is perfectly capable of speaking for itself and in the hands of this particular cast does so with beauty and eloquence.

All the rest, Daldry’s tricksy additions, seem unnecessary distraction and leave you longing for the kind of production he was reacting against.

Best simply to enjoy the quality of the acting, a fine ensemble cast which works brilliantly well, under the guidance of the mysterious Inspector Goole, to unravel the layers of guilt which they – and by extension, we – all share whenever anyone falls, or it thrust through, society’s net.

This is a vital, relevant play given real force by a cast alive to the beauty and power of its language. Just a shame about the clutter. It just doesn’t need to be ladled on so thickly.

Phil Hewitt

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