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Let’s Talk About An Inspector Calls

Liam Brennan, Jeff Harmer, Hamish Riddle, Andrew Macklin in An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley, P.W. Productions on tour 2018/19 Directed by Stephen Daldry Designed by Ian MacNeil Lighting by Rick Fisher Associate Director Julian Webber Photo by Mark Douet

Thank you for joining us for the National Theatre’s An Inspector Calls! We are so proud to present this landmark production in the Cutler Majestic . 

J.B. Priestley’s script offers all the twist and turns of an Agatha Christie novel, written for a post World War II world. He is asking us to look at class systems and consider our proximity to the most vulnerable people in our communities.

  • What conversations did you have on your way home?
  • What brought you to the performance in the first place?
  • Have you seen previous adaptations of this play?

Leave a comment down below with your thoughts about the show.

Want to learn more about An Inspector Calls? Check out our blog content regarding the show as well as the reviews and audience testimonials linked below.

Haven’t seen the show yet? Catch An Inspector Calls MAR 14-24 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre!

REVIEWS

“Vivid”

“The highly stylized production adds to the eeriness of Priestley’s parable.”

“The 100 intermissionless minutes fly past.”

“We might as well call it — spoiler alert — ‘An Inspector Calls . . . And Ivanka Gets Woke.’”

“A terrific, measured performance by Brennan lends the proper gravitas to his final speech about our responsibility to one another and the price we will pay if we ignore that obligation.” –The Boston Globe

“A gripping production that explodes the senses and toys with your intellect.” – Jared Bowen, WGBH

“With a moral heart that beats like thunder, the epic revival of this 1945 classic, itself a remounting of director Stephen Daldry’s 1995 production, both reveals truths about its characters and speaks to the audience’s collective conscience.”

“A wake-up call to take a hard look at all parts of oneself, the good, the bad and the ugly.”

“Both a delight and a cautionary tale…An Inspector Calls leaves you with food for thought.” –Cape Cod Times

“Race to see this smart, surprising, haunting, and gorgeously staged production only through Sunday. A cautionary ‘who done it’ for RIGHT NOW!” – Joyce Kulhawik 

“Gripping Revival Rings True””It is remarkable that the dichotomy [Priestly] illustrates in An Inspector Calls reverberates so loudly seven decades after he wrote the play.”

“This is an example of what theater can do, must do, to remind us that we are all in it together.” – Broadway World

“Couldn’t be more timely…delightful…The entire cast is superb.” – South Shore Critic

“As fresh and urgent as if it was written yesterday.” EDGE Boston

“This riveting, edgy and thought provoking mystery is a brilliant piece of theatre.” – Boston and Beyond

AUDIENCE REACTIONS

“This is an amazing show that really got me thinking!! It was 1 hour and 40 minutes of being riveted to the stage!! The play, costumes, set…were all spectacular!! Don’t miss this.” – Debbie, Facebook

“Made me feel as though I were seeing a Broadway or West End show, the set, music, and special effects were excellent as well as the cast” – Audience Survey

“WHAT an exceptional show” – @khemingway, Instagram

“Thank you for bringing this huge production to Boston in this day and age. I saw it 20 years ago in London but it resonated even more here and now. It’s brilliant and will be popular.” – Audience Survey

“LOVED the set design. Bravo! I wished the author of the play had written in a few more twists at the end. I loved the message, of course, there were no revelations. This of course has nothing to do with your production, which was fabulous!” – Audience Survey

“The social commentary was as relevant now as it was in 1945. I loved seeing the original set pieces from the 1992 revival. The Emerson Cutler Majestic is gorgeous!” – Audience Survey

“This was a GREAT performance!” – Audience Survey

“Thanks for bringing this show to Boston! Truly wonderful production.” – Audience Survey

“Great quality performance!” – Audience Survey

“”An Inspector Calls” showcased very strong performances, creative set design, and great direction and staging. Despite its 1945 provenance, J.B. Priestley’s play pricks the modern conscience.” – Audience Survey

“Fantastic show!” – Audience Survey

““An Inspector Calls” is one of the best productions that I have witnessed this season. Thank you for brining this to Boston.” – Audience Survey

“LOVED the play!!! Great story, set, music, acting, dramatic experience” – Audience Survey

“It was amazing” – Audience Survey

“Thanks for selecting such a wonderful play! The acting was first rate and the set was clever and memorable.” – Audience Survey

” “It’s as if Noel Coward wrote a Twilight Zone episode with music from Hitchcock’s Vertigo”  –Noel, Facebook

2 Comments

  1. Dave McCarthyMarch 18, 2019 at 9:53 am

    What was the point of the Boy Scout, the radio, and all the other extras? I don’t see how any of those things advanced the plot. At best they served as a distraction while the curtain was down, but was that only so the production could run as “one act” and not the three acts as it was written?

    Reply
    • Hello, Dave—

      Happy to share my own thoughts on the framing device of the children here. I wonder, though, if you might first come to some ideas on your own if you take as a given that there is more method in Daldry’s direction than simple distraction. What might have been his point with the begrimed children peeling back the curtain to the sound of air raids and then haunting the action throughout? The play is about our responsibility to each other and it opens with children playing in some dark space, lit by flashlights, and moves to them playing in the gutter in the rain while the oblivious family is snug in their fancy dinner party.

      For me, I start from the place of the time signatures in the Production. It was written right after WWII and set right before WWI. It goes to a place of a “failure to learn”, in that the elders in the house learn nothing from the inspector’s visit and go right back to their self-absorbed disregard of others. And, at the moment it is revealed that there really is a dead girl and an inspector on the way, the house opens to reveal the hoards have overtaken the dining room.

      So, what I make of all that is that Daldry has added a layer- actually two layers- to the sense of a cycle of failure to learn. He’s, first, populated the stage with the evidence of the disconnect and dressed them in the clothes of the time the play was written, not the time it was set. WWI did not teach us the lesson and so we had WWII. And, by breaking the fourth wall and making the theatricality of the whole event obvious (the curtain sinks so far at the end, the Inspector and daughter speak directly to us, all those people in the house) he is introducing the third Time- the time of this performance. And have we yet learned? The fact that the play feels so much like a “ripped from the headlines” piece tells me that we haven’t and we are not yet out of the danger of the “fire and anguish” Priestley warns of.

      This is, at any rate, what the director’s choices say to me. But one of the joys of art is its openness to interpretation. I appreciate that you share it made you wrestle with the “why” of it. Your answer to that question is as valid as anyone’s.

      Reply

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