On 23rd September 42 excited GCSE students from Forms 4 and 5 set off to the seaside – namely the prom in Llandudno. After a hasty picnic lunch, they proceeded to the theatre at Venue Cymru to witness the West End acclaimed production of “An Inspector Calls” which is currently on tour. Students very much enjoyed seeing an innovative interpretation of a classic text, particularly as they have been studying the text for their forthcoming GCSE. Many wrote their thoughts about the production by way of a review, and Sophie Vawdrey’s is included below as a flavour of the student experience…..
When Stephen Daldry reimagined the classic JB Priestley thriller, An Inspector Calls, in 1992, it was celebrated by the critics and audience who saw it. His production of An Inspector Calls is the longest running revival of a play in history, having been seen by over 3 million theatregoers worldwide.
Now in the year 2015, the multi-award winning production has now reopened for a 28 week tour across the UK.
I went to see this play at the tour’s second stop ; Venue Cymru, Llandudno. It starred Liam Brennan as Inspector Goole who led a very convincing array of actors in their respective roles. Priestley's play itself is carefully plotted and the original themes remain a strong feature in the current production. The set, designed by Ian MacNeill, makes a massive impact with the stage being bent and buckled with the family house presented in a symbolic, almost doll like style. With the addition of the lighting and Stephen Warbeck's ambient music, the setup is perfect for a good night at the theatre. This lavish stage design paid off well as the acting was not quite top class, with some of the actors stumbling over and forgetting their lines.
The acting itself was, in my opinion, too over-the-top and ended up taking away from the quality of the play’s content (although this could be due to the somewhat rowdy matinee audience filled up mainly by school groups).
I think that, overall, Daldry's most important contribution to the play is to incorporate a strong political message to exaggerate Priestley’s original impact. By the play’s conclusion the audience has no doubt that a more permanent change has begun to take shape in British society and the influence of the Establishment has begun to decline. I think this production of the play should be seen by anyone who wishes to see a new side to Priestley’s original to gain a new perspective on the themes that Priestley explored.
By Sophie Vawdrey
Posted on: October 9, 2015