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An Inspector Calls

By J. B. Priestley

The Lowry, 31 January 2012

An Inspector Calls

There is such a thing as society, and we are responsible for each other.

That’s the take-home message of J. B. Priestley’s classic play and it’s also probably the main reason for its universal appeal.  We feel it to be true and would all save a drowning child – or so we’d like to believe.

This production of the play is plenty fine.  The performances are terrific and Karen Archer as the priggish Mrs. Birling is spectacularly good.  Another big plus is the set, at its centre a shambolic house on a hill that’s at one point decidedly rickety.  Despite being a little contrived in places (why did the girl give herself so many different names?) and rather preachy, especially toward the close, this is an admirable play.  Its heart is as deep as a wheelie-bin and as big as a dustbin lid.

An Inspector Calls is showing at The Lowry until 4 February, details here.