RIBCHESTER-based theatre company Ribcaged Productions will stage J. B. Priestley’s classic play “An Inspector Calls” at The Grand in Clitheroe next month.
Although written in 1945, just as the Second World War was coming to a close, the play is set in 1912, just befor the outbreak of the First World War.
In a single night the tranquil middle class Birling household is about to be turned upside down by an unexpected caller. On this night of celebration Arthur Birling, his wife Sybil, their daughter Sheila and son Eric are in the dining room toasting Sheila’s engagement to Gerald Croft, son of wealthy textiles magnate Sir George Croft.
Yet the happy scene is torn apart by the arrival of Police Inspector Goole, who brings news of a young girl who has died alone, cold and abandoned. His questions for the family reveal more of the mysterious suicide and the girl’s strange connections with the prosperous gathering. The Inspector’s interrogation reveals the dark secrets and connections to this tragedy and threatens to smash the foundations of their lives and highlight the hypocrisy of the times.
Even now in the 21st century the play packs a dramatic punch. A recent revival by Stephen Daldry has been a hit both in The West End and touring.Its original production in London saw Ralph Richardson play the Inspector and Alec Guinness as Arthur Birling, with Margaret Leighton as Sybil and a young Harry Andrews as Gerald. Subsequently filmed, the part of The Inspector was memorably played by Alastair Sim.
For Ribcaged, the mysterious Inspector will be played by Mike Coyne, who Ribcaged regulars will remember as a wonderful Mr Bumble in Oliver Twist. Another Twist actor, Michael Gill, will play Birling, with Charlotte Smith as Mrs Birling. Charlotte first performed for Ribcaged as Lady Capulet in “Romeo and Juliet”
Established Ribcaged favourite Richard Hoyle plays their son Eric and the cast also features newcomer and local girl Sara Wright as the daughter, Sheila.
“An Inspector Calls” will be performed at The Grand on Monday and Tuesday February 11th and 12th at 7-30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee performance on Saturday February 16th.
Tickets (£12 adults, £6 under-18s, £30 family) are available now from Keith Flood on 01254 878479 or from The Grand box office on 01200 421599.