An Inspector Calls

Play by J B Priestley. April 1912, at the home of the prosperous Birling family - Arthur Birling, his wife Sybil, their daughter Sheila and son Eric are in the drawing room just after dinner celebrating Sheila's engagement to Gerald Croft, son of Sir George Croft, and heir to the most successful family business in the North of England. Their cosy celebration is suddenly interrupted when Edna, the parlour maid, announces the unexpected arrival of Police Inspector Goole. The Inspector has come to the Birling home as part of an inquiry into the death of a young woman. As the Inspector's investigation unfolds, we discover that they each have secrets linking them to the tragedy. His startling revelations not only shatter the very foundations of their lives but challenge us all to examine our consciences.

Original West End Production 1946 / 1947

London Revival Mermaid Theatre 1973

London Revival Shaw Theatre 1978

London Revival Westminster Theatre 1987

1st West End Revival National Theatre 1992 / 2017

J B Priestley's other plays include When We Are Married and Dangerous Corner.

An Inspector Calls - Original West End Production 1946 / 1947

Opened 1 October 1946, Closed Saturday, Mar 22, 1947 (in repertory) at the New Theatre (now called Noel Coward Theatre)

The cast featured Ralph Richardson as Inspector Goole', Julien Mitchell as Arthur Birling', Marian Spencer as Sybil Birling', Margaret Leighton as Sheila Birling', Alec Guinness as Eric Birling' and Harry Andrews as Gerald Croft'.

Directed by Basil Dean.

Presented by The Old Vic Theatre Company, the precursor to the National Theatre.

An Inspector Calls - London Revival 1973

Opened 29 August 1973, Closed 8 December 1973 at the Mermaid Theatre

The cast featured Philip Stone as 'Inspector Goole', Campbell Singer as 'Arthur Birling', Shelia Ruskin as 'Sheila Birling', Elizabeth Tyrrell as 'Sybil Birling', Edward Hammond as 'Eric Birling' and David Horovitch as 'Gerald Croft'.

Directed by Bernard Miles with designs by Susan Ayres and lighting by Roger Weaver.

An Inspector Calls - London Revival 1978

Opened 16 January 1978, Closed 11 March 1978 at the Shaw Theatre

The cast featured Richard Moore as 'Inspector Goole', Douglas Milvain as 'Arthur Birling', Judith Fellows as 'Sybil Birling', Sarah Craze as 'Sheila Birling', Peter Bourke as 'Eric Birling', Shaughan Seymour as 'Gerald Croft'.

Directed by James Roose-Evans, designs by Bernard Culshaw and lighting by Andy Phillips. Presented by The Dolpin Theatre Company.

An Inspector Calls - London Revival 1987

Opened 6 May 1987, Closed 31 October 1987 at the Westminster Theatre (rebuilt as the Other Palace Theatre)

The cast featured Tom Baker as 'Inspector Goole', Peter Baldwin as 'Arthur Birling', Pauine Jameson as 'Sybil Birling', Charlotte Attenborough as 'Sheila Birling', Adam Godley as 'Eric Birling', Simon Shepherd as 'Gerald Croft'.

Directed by Peter Dews with designs by Daphne Dare. A transfer from Theatr Clwyd in Mold, North Wales.

An Inspector Calls - 1st West End Revival 1992 / 2017

Previewed 5 Sep 1992, Opened 11 Sep 1992, Closed 20 Oct 1992 (in rep) at the NT Lyttelton
Previewed 25 Jan 1993, Opened 26 Jan 1993, Closed 14 Aug 1993 (in rep) at the NT Olivier
Previewed 21 Aug 1993, Opened 25 Aug 1993, Closed to 21 Jan 1995 at the Aldwych Theatre
Previewed 20 Oct 1995, Opened 25 Oct 1995, Closed 14 April 2001 at the Garrick Theatre
Previewed 20 Sepr 2001, Opened 27 Sep 2001, Closed 11 May 2002 at the Playhouse Theatre
Previewed 22 Sep 2009, Opened 25 Sep 2009, Closed 14 Nov 2009 at the Novello Theatre
Transferred 3 Dec 2009, Closed 13 March 2010 at the Wyndham's Theatre
Previewed 4 Nov 2016, Opened 10 Nov 2016, Closed 25 March 2017 at the Playhouse Theatre

The original National Theatre September 1992 cast featured Kenneth Cranham as 'Inspector Goole', Richard Pasco as 'Arthur Birling', Barbara Leight-Hunt as 'Sybil Birling', Diana Kent as 'Sheila Birling', Robert Bowman as 'Eric Birling' and Louis Hilyer as 'Gerald Croft'.

The original Aldwych Theatre 1993 cast featured Kenneth Cranham as 'Inspector Goole', Julian Glover as 'Arthur Birling', Judy Parfitt as 'Sybil Birling', Sylvestra le Touzel as 'Sheila Birling', Scott Handy as 'Eric Birling' and Louis Hilyer as 'Gerald Croft'.

The original Garrick Theatre 1995 cast featured Nicholas Woodeson as 'Inspector Goole', Edward Peel as 'Arthur Birling', Susan Engel as 'Sybil Birling', Helen Schlesinger as 'Sheila Birling', Tom Goodman-Hill as 'Eric Birling' and Crispin Redman as 'Gerald Croft'.

The original Playhouse Theatre 2001 cast featured Niall Buggy as 'Inspector Goole', Edward Peel as 'Arthur Birling', Diane Fletcher as 'Sybil Birling', Emma Gregory as 'Sheila Birling', Andrew Leonard as 'Eric Birling' and Owen Oakeshott as 'Gerald Croft'.

The original Novello Theatre 2009 cast featured Nicholas Woodeson as 'Inspector Goole', David Roper as 'Arthur Birling', Sandra Duncan as 'Sybil Birling', Marianne Oldham as 'Sheila Birling', Robin Whiting as 'Eric Birling' and Timothy Watson as 'Gerald Croft'.

The original Playhouse Theatre 2016 cast featured Liam Brennan as 'Inspector Goole', Clive Francis as 'Arthur Birling', Barbara Marten as 'Sybil Birling', Carmela Corbett as 'Sheila Birling', Hamish Riddle as 'Eric Birling' and Matthew Douglas as 'Gerald Croft'.

The National Theatre's multi award-winning 1992 production of JB Priestley's classic thriller An Inspector Calls in London for a strictly season.

Directed by Stephen Daldry with designs by Ian MacNeil, lighting by Rick Fisher with music by Stephen Warbeck and Julian Webber as associate director.

This ground-breaking revival of An Inspector Calls first opened at the National Theatre in 1992 and was a huge success, celebrated by critics and audiences alike, receiving three Olivier Awards - for Best Revival, Best Director and Best Designer - and two Evening Standard Awards - for Best Director and Best Supporting Actress. The show tranferred to the West End where it enjoyed a two year season, and then opened on Broadway, winning an unprecedented number of awards including four Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards. Stephen Daldry said about his production of An Inspector Calls: "All productions develop, it was very much a close collaboration between myself and the designer. But JB Priestley himself - and this play particularly - had always been perceived as a warhorse, a rep standby, and that isn't as he originally wrote it. There were two rather extraordinary productions of it in Moscow which were the first productions, and it wasn't really until it came back to this country in 1946 that it was put into, for example, the dining room. Before that it hadn't been. And JB Priestley himself always described himself as an experimental dramatist - look at his more extraordinary works such as Johnson over Jordan which he wrote with Benjamin Britten, or indeed his work with Hitchcock. I wanted very much to try to reclaim the production, and to see it again in what we hope is a staging much closer to what JB Priestley was intending, rather than the sort of production handed down to us.

When this production opened at the Playhouse Theatre in November 2016, Lyn Gardner in the Guardian commented that, "as good as they are, the actors play second fiddle in a production that, from Stephen Warbeck’s doomy music to Rick Fisher’s eerie lighting, magically reinvents a middlebrow drama and transforms it into thrilling and pertinent theatre." Quentin Letts for the Daily Mail said that the "gloomy lighting and highly strung music tells us what to jolly well feel. I would prefer to let the story amble along in its middle-class comfort for a bit longer before giving the audience a clip round the jaw near the end." Dominic Maxwell in The Times wrote that "Stephen Daldry's spectacularly successful remounting of JB Priestley has returned to the West End. Even 24 years after its first run at the National Theatre, even if you know that what's coming is not going to be your average drawing-room thriller, it remains a remarkable evening... This magnificent mix of the strange and the familiar still needs to be seen." Dominic Cavendish in The Daily Telegraph explained that in "Stephen Daldry's evergreen production... The mise en scene - a deluxe dolls house perched amid a rainsoaked wasteland - remains astounding, while Priestley's sophisticated socialist agitprop remains thought-provoking." Sarah Hemming in The Financial Times noted that "what once seemed a radical approach has itself dated somewhat in 20 years. In places it strays into melodrama and it pushes a message that needs little pushing: subtlety isn't Priestley's strongest suit. But still, both play and production slowly assert their grip, thanks in part to fine performances... And, despite the shortcomings, it's great to see a new generation encountering this sobering and sadly relevant piece of theatre." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard described how "an always potent blend of fine dramatic craft and good old-fashioned social conscience, JB Priestley’s drama is a perennial winner."

Liam Brennan's West End credits include the role of 'George, Duke of Clarence' in Tim Carroll's revival of William Shakespeare's Richard III at the Apollo Theatre in 2012; Clive Francis' London theatre credits include Alan Bennett's comedy The Madness of George III at the Apollo Theatre in 2012 and Simon Gray's comedy The Common Pursuit at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre in 1984; and Barbara Marten's West End theatre credits include Duncan Macmillan's play People, Places and Things at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2016.

"The Inspector has been a regular visitor since Stephen Daldry's extraordinary production hit the National Theatre in 1992. Daringly, he took JB Priestley's whodunnit out of the drawing room and onto a bomb site, more redolent of when the play was written, in 1945, than when it was set, in 1912... Clive Francis blusters superbly as the self-important industrialist, well matched by Barbara Marten as his haughty, unyielding wife. As Liam Brennan's Inspector angrily attacks the Birlings' selfishness, a crowd of onlookers gather, their unsettling presence enhanced by Stephen Warbeck's Hitchcockian music. Priestley's play may be occasionally creaky, but Daldry's production cuts through any nostalgia and refuses to let us othe hook. It is as fresh and bold as it was when it first opened." The Sunday Times 2016

"Here it is again, after all the awards and transfers and tours, back in town for an eight-week run, and it has pulled off another knock-out surprise: for Daldry's 1992 calling-card production hasn't even begun to settle into some dusty, well-worn groove. In fact, not only is it ever-green fresh, but it dawns on you that no other revival in this dying decade has come close to matching its breathtaking daring and faultless execution." The Daily Telegraph September 2009

"Stephen Daldry's extraordinary reinvention of J. B. Priestley's classic has lost none of its fierce pertinence. More than 15 years after its first appearance at the National Theatre in 1992, it's still heart-thumpingly thrilling... Ian MacNeil's design is as impressive as ever, and even if it no longer comes as a surprise to many... [the Birling] family's shameful secrets are exposed is a stunning coup de theatre. A faintly coarse note creeps into a couple of the performances, but the acting is mostly compelling... This is, though, outstanding theatre: a production of provocative, penetrating and exuberant brilliance." The Times September 2009

"Many times I've heard Stephen Daldry refer teasingly to his phenomenally successful production of J. B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls as An Inspector Bores. Understandably perhaps, for it must be a mite tedious to have to rehearse a new member of the cast for the thousandth time, or to have to answer questions about how rich it has made him. But there is nothing remotely boring about the nine-year-old production which reopened this week at the Playhouse, as visually stunning, as revelatory, as audacious as ever. Daldry famously transformed Priestley's celebrated old warhorse into a sleek, multi-awardwinning racer which has run and run all over the world. Nothing can quite replace the shock of the old being renewed as it was in 1992 at the Olivier... The extraordinary set - the Birlings' Victorian house which squats like a doll's house surrounded by black cobbles and rain-filled Yorkshire sky - sat better in that huge space, too. The smaller Playhouse tightens the focus and some of the performances are perhaps a bit overblown, but the production nevertheless packs a forceful dramatic punch and continues to set a standard of quality for the rest of West End theatre... I defy anyone to see it and not feel some guilt for their failure to accept their social responsibilities to others. An important theatrical landmark." The Mail on Sunday 2001