8 reasons to see An Inspector Calls at the Empire
2 weeks ago
If you like a thriller, you’ll love JB Priestley’s An Inspector Calls at the Empire.
An Inspector Calls is real edge-of-the-seat stuff, and when it comes to the ingredients of a great whodunnit – especially an unconventional one like this – it’s got the lot: death, intrigue, and a plot that’ll have you talking about it long after the curtain’s gone down.
And if you’re still wondering whether to take a trip to the Liverpool Empire to see it or not, between now and Saturday, here’s 8 reasons why you REALLY should.
Gripping and haunting plot
The year is 1912, and the story begins when Inspector Goole arrives unexpectedly at the home of the well-off and self-seeking Birling family, interrupting their polite dinner party with investigations into the death of a young woman. As he continues to question each of them, and drip feed startling information, they become increasingly rattled … as might you!
It’ll make you think
Without giving too much away the play is one that has you asking all sorts of questions as you try to unravel the mystery. With massively moral overtones as Inspector Goole brings everyone to account for their social crimes, and shameful secrets are revealed, it challenges us all to examine our consciences and consider our roles and responsibilities in the world we live in, and the people we live in it with. Priestley was a lifelong socialist and, needless to say, this play is as politically and socially relevant – if not more so – than ever.
It’s Priestley’s most performed and popular play
From schools to amateur dramatic groups to the professional stage, it’s the writer’s most performed play and in the 31 years since its first performance at the National Theatre in 1992 this production has become the most performed theatrical revival in history, seen by more than five million theatregoers throughout the world.
Simple and straight-forward
Written towards the end of World War II (1944-5) it’s a straightforward play that’s easy to understand. The author once wrote that he ‘wanted to write something that at a pinch could be read aloud in a bar parlour. And the time soon came when I was read and understood in a thousand bar parlours’. An Inspector Calls has now been seen in theatres around the world and its simplicity is a huge part of its never-ending appeal.
It’s collected a total of 19 major awards, including four Tony Awards in the US, and three Oliver Awards. (We’d give them another!).
The set is brilliant
Creatively and chillingly reinvented, The Birling house looks like a doll’s house, lifted Wizard of Oz-style, and dropped on a 1940s’ blitz-hit landscape from around the time it was written. The front opens up to reveal its residents and guests, and expose the skeletons within. Added to that is the eery and haunting music by Oscar-winning composer Stephen Warbreck (Shakespeare in Love) and atmospheric lighting that drives this still stunning and ever-fresh drama home.
Theatre at its best
An Inspector Calls is a National Theatre production and stage shows don’t come any better. Whether it’s a comedy, drama, or a musical, a new work or an age-old classic by the inspirational theatrical leader, its touring productions offer the chance to see the best outside the capital. This is beyond gripping, and you won’t be disappointed.
Last but absolutely not least – it’s directed by Stephen Daldry
This landmark production is directed by Stephen Daldry who received Academy Award nominations for his films, The Reader, The Hours, Billy Elliot, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and who brought Billy Elliot to the West End stage. You’ll also know him as the one who, from 2016 to 2020, produced and directed the Netflix television series The Crown, for which he received a clutch of awards and nominations.