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)
Stage Manager: Nancy Adams
by Sue Dupont
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.