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Review: An Inspector Calls – powerful adaptation of a favourite

The multi-award-winning Stephen Daldry production of J.B.Priestley’s classic thriller An Inspector Calls has returned to Cardiff.

This powerful adaptation of a favourite set-text played to a packed house at the New Theatre tonight (Tuesday March 10th) following a sell-out London season and American tour.

Set in an industrial town in northern England in 1912, the drama plays out in a single night, when Detective Inspector Goole arrives unexpectedly at the prosperous Birling family home.

A dinner party to celebrate their daughter’s engagement to the son of another wealthy industrialist is coming to a contented conclusion with cigars and port.

But this comfortable and self-congratulatory scene is disrupted by Goole’s arrival to report the suicide of a young woman and his insistance on questioning the family.

The revelations and confessions which follow uncover a series of secrets, which implicate members of the family, forcing them – and the audience – to examine their consciences.

This is a dynamic and physical interpretation, which hammers home Priestley’s message about social injustice – making it as relevant today as in 1945 when it was first performed, 1912 when it is set, and 1992 when this production was first staged.

The set design by Ian MacNeil is stunning, and Liam Brennan is an excellent Goole, leading a superb cast which also includes Jeffrey Harmer, Christine Kavanagh, Chloe Orrock, Alasdair Buchan, Ryan Saunders, and Emma Cater.

This remarkable production has been seen by more than 5 million people worldwide. If you want to catch it in Cardiff – now’s your chance.

An Inspector Calls plays at the New Theatre until Saturday. For tickets, phone the box office on 029 2087 8889 or book online here.

Review by Andrew Weltch

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