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An Inspector Calls

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An Inspector Calls (Princess Theatre) They are a wealthy midlands family. He is a straight talking detective. One minute they are having a family celebration the next, their cosy world is torn apart. Who is the mysterious stranger and where will he strike next? An Inspector Calls has the audience guessing from the outset. Lilly Page plays Sheila Birling, a spoilt excitable young girl who breaks free of convention. Fredric Wood is Arthur Birling, a gritty factory boss who stands no nonsense. Damian Darke is brilliant as the Inspector who appears one night and changes their life forever. SMUG: Lilly Page as Sheila Fredric Wood as Mr Birling The play is set in 1912 on the night that the Titanic sank. In those days society was divided into rich and poor. The rich enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle with well furnished large homes, elegant clothes, servants, and the time to enjoy expensive hobbies and a good social life. However many people were poor and lived in small, cramped, and unsanitary conditions. They worked long hours for low pay. In those days there was no government help such as unemployment benefit and the National Health Service. Disadvantaged people had no right to assistance from the government. They had to apply for help from a charity committee who decide if they were a deserving case. ...read more.


Sheila is protected from the harsh realities of life and is kept under her mother's wing. As the play progresses, Sheila becomes aware of herself and is sure about her own opinions. At the end of the play, Sheila has become so perceptive that she acts like the Inspector. She asks lots of questions and even orders her father not to "interfere". The fact that Sheila and Mr Birling are from different generations is significant. J.B Priestly shows the older generation as being stuck in their ways and looks towards the younger generation to change the future. The Inspector speaks with authority and a strong moral tone. He uses emotive language. A normal Police Inspector would have said that Eva Smith had committed suicide by drinking poison, whereas Inspector Goole describes her as now lying "with a burnt-out inside on a slab". His role is to piece together the story of Eva Smith as he speaks to the family. Up to the point when a phone call reveals that Inspector Goole isn't a Police Officer the play is like an ordinary detective story. After the phone call the Birling's and the audience realise that it is themselves and their morals that are being inspected. The Inspector comes into the play at the point where the Birling's are having a family celebration and are very pleased with themselves. ...read more.


The Birlings have learnt nothing about social responsibility and by the end of the play they can still regard the plight of a young woman as a 'joke'. On the other hand, both Eric and Sheila show great remorse for what they've done and can see that the fate of all social classes is connected. J B Priestly believed that everyone had responsibility for each other. He was a socialist and at the time when this play was written and performed there was about to be a general election. He wanted people to ask themselves what sort of world they wanted to live in. He hoped that this play would help them make up their mind. I think that An Inspector Calls is a good play because it has many twists and turns in the storyline and also the audience can get involved with the play, thinking about what's going to happen next. Is the play still relevant today? I think it is because there will always be people like Mr Birling, who only care about themselves and never help anyone else. Whereas, the younger generation, like Eric and Sheila, can change themselves and the future. A lot can be learned from this play. I would recommend you go and see this play. Rating: STACY CLARKE Showing until 17th February. Tickets available at the box office. Concessions available for students. Big Brain Club Magazine 28/01/2006 1 ...read more.

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