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Wymondham Players Production - An Inspector Calls

An Inspector Calls
By J. B. Priestley
Dates performed: 9th - 12th April 2014

The Inspector questions the Birlings

Left to right: Inspector Goole (Kevin Oelrichs); Sybil Birling (Alison Burton); Eric Birling (Josh Francis); Arthur Birling (Martin Drummond); Sheila Birling (Rachael Carpenter);

Other members of the cast were:
Gerald Croft (David Percival); Edna (Kayleigh Markham)

Director: Amanda Oelrichs
Stage Manager: Nancy Adams

Review by Sue Dupont

Wymondham Players production of Priestley’s An Inspector Calls - a real classic, so well written and with such excellent roles for all participants.
Amanda Oelrichs had assembled an excellent cast, all highly suitable by age and type, strong in the dialogue and characterisations and highly credible. It is a long time since I last saw this play and kept remembering some sections but had totally forgotten how the pieces fitted together and the finale: the story gripped the attention and the tension built up in a remarkably good fashion, certainly no wandering of minds in the play and concentration on characters and actions needed.
Martin Drummond was ideal as the father, Arthur Girling, head of family, somewhat long-winded and slightly pompous and determined that his family did the ‘right’ thing even in adversity, even his ‘father-bullying' came over well, good blustering when on the ‘wrong’ side. Opposite him as Sybil Girling, Alison Burton played the upper-crust Edwardian mother to perfection with cut-glass accents, dignity of position, and shock over the situation. And what a beautiful costume, as was that of daughter Sheila. The lovers Rachael Carpenter (Sheila) and David Percival (Gerald Croft) were well matched in ages, style, feelings and reactions, and the emotional outbursts, particularly from the impressionable Sheila, were well disciplined but very effective and credible, two very good portrayals. As the son Eric, Josh Francis seemed underplayed at the beginning but this was an advantage as the play progressed and he became an important revelation in the story, very strong dialogue and good moods, interaction with other family members as they fought to deny the situations in which each one had participated. And pulling all the strings in dominating fashion, always ahead in each story-line and remorseless in his determination to bring each offender to recognise fault, Kevin Oelrichs as Inspector Goole had the presence to draw every eye and ear whenever on stage. A very well balanced cast, excellent clarity in dialogue, and drawing out all facets of this play. The final moments full of tension!
Liked the details in the dining table as central to the scene, well fashioned with props for the period style, and the atmosphere of the surrounding semi-nominal set worked without being overpowering for the actors or action space.
Certainly good for the students in the audience to see such a good production rather than just reading the script.