Wednesday, 15 January 2020
THEATRE REVIEW: An Inspector Calls - The Lowry Theatre, Salford.
Still a staple on the GCSE curriculum, An Inspector Calls makes its way to The Lowry for a week-long run. A psychological thriller with more twists and turns than an episode of Eastenders. The plot is very well written and thought out. Every character gets their moment in the spotlight, but is fascinating to watch.
Once the curtain was raised I was simply blown away by the set design, I had never seen anything quite like it. As the dry ice and rain cleared to reveal a quaint house which was raised from the stage with steps going down to the cobbled street outside. There was also a street light and telephone box. I especially liked the use of the small house in the background to show the distance between the two houses.
I have to say the quality of acting was a bit hit and miss. Mrs Birling (Christine Kavanagh) was my favourite performer of the night, wonderfully real and very truthful. The drunk acting by Ryan Saunders wasn't the best I've seen and he waved in and out of playing blind drunk to being sober the next minute. It was a bit over-the-top. I'm not sure if it was the director's choice but the slamming of the chair and young girl falling over definitely weren't emotionally connected for me. It seemed far too well rehearsed at times.
Liam Brennan did a good job in the lead role of Inspector Goole. However I think it was far from the best I've seen. Naturally he had a lot of dialogue, which he had to deliver in a dry sense to keep the character of the Inspector going but also make it interesting to watch for the audience.
However I think the play itself speaks volumes when it could have been performed by trained chimps and I still would have enjoyed the story. It's so interesting to watch as each character one-by-one gets tricked into confessing they had a part to play in a young woman's suicide.
Despite being set over 100 years ago, the themes of the play are still as relevant today as they were back then; women's rights to equal pay, the class divide and women supporting one another rather than competing. However, the real thing I took from the production was that how much the upper-class impact the lives of those who are less fortunate.
Reviewer - Brian Madden
on - 14/1/20