Round-up of An Inspector Calls reviews at the Novello Theatre, London:

Telegraph: 5/5

Evening Standard: 3/5

Times: 4/5

OPENING THOUGHTS

Times: More than 15 years after its first appearance at the National Theatre in 1992, it’s still heart-thumpingly thrilling.

Telegraph: Daldry’s 1992 calling-card production hasn’t even begun to settle into some dusty, well-worn groove. In fact, not only is it ever-green fresh but it dawns on you that no other revival in this dying decade has come close to matching its breathtaking daring and faultless execution.

DIRECTION

Times: Stephen Daldry’s extraordinary reinvention of J. B. Priestley’s classic has lost none of its fierce pertinence

Telegraph: Daldry creates a running conversation between past and future, cause and effect, dream and reality. What could just be a soap-box for socialism becomes a multi-layered, mind-blowing box of tricks…. The fact that this Inspector has triumphed over time – and looks set to run and run – is rather apt since Daldry’s direction, which works hand in glove with Ian MacNeil’s exquisite expressionistic design, plays such ingenious games with temporal perspective.

ES: The real achievement of Daldry is to make something Wagnerian out of a play that is usually conceived in the idiom of Agatha Christie. It’s tempting to think of him as an alchemist, an instinctive master of how to fuse story and spectacle… Daldry’s feat is to reclaim Priestley as an experimental artist. He reimagines the play as a darkly psychological drama complete with brooding string music and sepulchral woodwind.

DESIGN

Times: Ian MacNeil’s design is as impressive as ever, and even if it no longer comes as a surprise to many, the cacophonous collapse of the Birling home as the family’s shameful secrets are exposed is a stunning coup de théâtre.

ES: The design, by Ian MacNeil, is the production’s star turn.

ACTING

Times: A faintly coarse note creeps into a couple of the performances, but the acting is mostly compelling.

Telegraph: Recently out of RADA, Robin Whiting impresses as the disturbed young Eric, as does Marianne Oldham as his equally stricken sister Sheila. Hats off first and last, though, to Nicholas Woodeson, superbly tense, tough and watchful as Goole.

ES: The action is neatly constructed… Nicholas Woodeson, in a suit he appears to have borrowed from a much larger man, is an appropriately beady-eyed Inspector. But he is mostly too self‑effacing – and then briefly stentorian, thundering out his moralistic criticism.Around him there are performances that are enjoyable yet far from subtle.

LAST WORD

Times: This is, though, outstanding theatre: a production of provocative, penetrating and exuberant brilliance.

Telegraph: Nicholas Woodeson [is] superbly tense, tough and watchful as Goole and powering the evening towards a conclusion that is as shattering as it is artistically satisfying.

ES: The production is entertaining but in the end a little too elaborately packaged.

Times: Sam Marlowe

Telegraph: Dominic Cavendish

Evening Standard:  Henry Hitchings


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