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Garrick Theatre, 2 Charing Cross Road, WC2. Tel: +44 (0)20 7494 5085. Nearest tube: Leicester Square.

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    8 Reviews
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      14.07.2010 20:31
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      Well worth seeing!

      J.B Priestley was born in the year of 1894, in Yorkshire. He was aware at a young age of his talent for writing and he knew it was the direction he wanted to follow further. He rejected the idea of attending university, as in his opinion the world around him gave a better 'feel' than academia offered. So alternatively, at the age of 16, he later became a junior clerk with his local Wool firm.

      During the time that WW1 began, John had signed up to join the infantry, and found himself in several incidents barely escaping with his life. Once the war was finally over Priestley attended Cambridge University where he left with a degree, and moved to London where he began his career as a freelance writer. His wrote many articles and essays which included many successes, but his first main achievement was in 1929 with the publication of his first of many novels to come, Good Companions .He later, in 1932, went on to write his first of a later 50 plays. Mainly his writing was based on controversial affairs, such as parallel universes and political issues.

      At the time of WW2, Priestley began broadcasting a radio programme on a weekly basis, in which he expressed his opinions politically which lead to Conservatives accusing the radio station as favouring left wing (socialism). Consequently, the station was later terminated for the very reason. Priestley continued his writing career into the 1970's and later died in 1984 at the age of 90.

      During the 1930's Priestley became very concerned about the consequences of social inequality in Britain, and in 1942 Priestley and others set up a new political party, the Common Wealth Party which argued for public ownership of land, greater democracy, and a new "morality" in politics. The party merged with the Labour Party in 1945, but Priestley was influential in developing the idea of the Welfare State which began to be put into place at the end of the war. Priestley made many broadcasts on radio in which he tried to promote and persuade people of the virtues of socialism.

      Communal responsibility is the most discussed and maybe most important aspect of "An Inspector Calls". Priestley wants to teach us: Do not only look after yourself but also care for others. Arthur Birling in particular is a perfect example of this.
      "But take my word for it, you youngsters and I've learnt in the good hard school of experience - that a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own..."
      Here Arthur is promoting selfishness, being irresponsible and having no social responsibility- which is quite the opposite to the views of a socialist such as Priestley. However this works to Priestley's advantage as at various points in the play the inspector-representing socialist views, often overrides Arthur making the inspectors socialist view more heard to the audience, influencing their opinions.

      The Birlings, Arthur in particular accepts no responsibility and has no social awareness; he shows no remorse when talking of Eva's death, or that of his workers and the conditions they work in. In his speech to Eric and Gerald before the Inspector arrives he gives some 'advice' in which he speaks of how others should be treated.
      "...But the way some of these cranks talk and write now, you'd think everybody has to look after everybody else, as if we were all mixed up together like bees in a bee hive- community and all that nonsense."
      Mr Birling carries traits such as arrogance, inconsideration, irresponsibility and no social awareness. It is the Inspector's role to teach the Birlings about collective responsibility, equality, union and consideration. He does so by use of guilt and shock, in hope of getting them to change their selfish ways.

      Priestley purposely set the play in 1912, the reason for this being that this date represented a period when society was considerably different from the time that the play had been originally written. The play explored the issue of gender and class restrictions that existed in 1912 and that directed the way of society at the time. Yet, however by 1945, the vast majority of these 'restrictions' had been defeated. For example, during 1912 it was mandatory for women to behave obediently to, and wait on men. Expectations were high and even a women of a high-class and wealth could do nothing but marry on, and for those less fortunate and of low class, it was an opportunity for some cheap labour, much like that of Eva Smith. Though by 1945, the consequences of war meant that women's place in society had grown considerably. Priestley saw these unusual circumstances as an opportunity and wanted his audience to see the potential. Throughout his play he frequently encourages his audience to seize the chance that the end of WW2 had given them, to further create and build an improved, more socially responsible society.

      By setting the play in 1912 it also gave Priestley the opportunity to include references to major historic events such as the HMS titanic, WW1 and mining strikes. This allowed Priestley to keep his audience involved and one step ahead of the unaware Characters.

      The genre of the play: 'An Inspector Calls' at first glance appears to be that of the straightforward, detective thriller. However as the play develops, the genre seems to transform somewhat from that of ignorance to a 'whodunit' as the inspector interrogates his way through each of the Birling household. The Inspector controls the pace and tension by dealing with one enquiry at a time. The story is gradually revealed, piece by piece.

      The use of lighting plays a significant role in conveying the mood and atmosphere of the scene. We begin Act One with a description of the scene, followed by an introduction to the main characters. Here we are told of how the lighting should be used.
      "The lighting should be pink and intimate until the Inspector arrives, and then it should be brighter and harder."
      By using a pink, intimate theme of lighting, it portrays a sense of comfort, success and self-satisfaction, ultimately reflecting the characters' emotion and the mood of the celebrations occurring. This could also be linked to a phrase, 'looking at life through rose-coloured spectacles,' Suggesting that the characters are idealists, their take on life being forever optimistic, therefore the characters' perception of what actually goes on in their lives is a long distance from reality, and what they actually admit to.

      At the significant moment of the Inspectors entrance, the lighting changes substantially, bringing upon his arrival a sudden change of tone. What was first a comfortable, intimate mood suddenly becomes harsh and informal, bringing an impression of exposure and a revelation of truth. This is a metaphor used to signify the Inspector shedding light on the lives and doings of the family. Like an interrogation, the harsh lighting represents the Inspector questioning the Characters, removing shadows and uncovering secrets.

      The use of the doorbell as a device portrays a key moment in the story, as it symbolises the sudden arrival of the Inspector. The sudden ring of the doorbell interrupts the family's celebratory evening, angering Arthur Birling- who of which being full of arrogance assumes it is official business. This immediately snatches the audience's attention, as they eagerly await his entrance, by now the tension is growing increasingly higher. The audience, knowing the title of the play, 'an inspector calls' are aware that the Inspector is in fact the person at the door, however continue await his arrival with enthusiasm. The use of the doorbell is also an example of double-meaning as the doorbell has interrupted the family's celebratory evening, however, the Inspector will continue to do so but to a greater degree and with force.

      Before Arthur is first introduced to the Inspector he says, "Show him in it may be something about a warrant."
      At this point Arthur Birling is more than happy to welcome the guest. This quote also shows that Arthur is self-righteous and full of his own self-importance, as he acts 'big-headed' in front of Gerald and Eric.

      Later, Arthur then attempts to befriend the Inspector, offering him drinks of port and goes on to day, "you're new aren't you?...I was an alderman...Lord mayor two years ago...I'm still on the bench."
      Here Arthur is informing the Inspector that he's used to getting his own way, and that he believes he is above the law due to his high social status and class, this hints at corruption in society and links to Priestley's concerns.

      Soon after Arthur and the Inspectors heated conversation Sheila enters the scene.
      "Sheila: mummy sent me in to ask why you didn't come along to the drawing room.
      Arthur: We shall be along in a minute now. Just finishing
      Inspector: ...I'm afraid not...
      Sheila: What's all this about?
      Arthur: Nothing to do with you Sheila run along.
      Inspector: No wait a minute Miss Birling.
      Arthur: (Angrily) Look here, Inspector I consider this uncalled for and officious. I've half a mind to report you."
      Here we see Arthur Birling is angered by the Inspector, we see that he feels intimidated by his presence and hates having his authority overridden, especially in his own home. This also signals corruption in society as it shows that the upper classes can easily abuse their high status' to get where and what they want, in this case he threatens to report the Inspector just because he is angered by the Inspector dominating the situation.

      Gerald often makes remarks that question the Inspector's authority.
      "Any particular reason why I shouldn't see this girl's photograph Inspector?"
      This reflects egotism and denial in Gerald's character as he arrogantly believes that due to his wealth and father it places him above the law. He thinks that laws do not apply to him, and that he is 'immune' to any involvement to the death of Eva Smith.

      When the Inspector arrives Gerald makes a comment regarding Eric's actions.
      "Sure to be. Unless Eric's been up to something."
      This shows irony, as all the characters have been up to something. This also shows that Gerald doesn't take the situation seriously, hinting towards corruption as just like Arthur he believes he's above the law, just because of his class and status, showing conceit and zero respect for the Inspector and of the law in general.

      We see during Act One that Sheila is quite inquisitive.
      "What business? What's happening?"
      This shows Sheila wanting to hear what the Inspector has to say suggesting that she is 'fed-up' with being treated like a child and wants to be included in conversations and to know what's really going on in life and society.

      At the moment when Sheila realises she played a catalyst in the events that followed Eva's death she immediately show actions of regret and is quick to accept responsibility.
      "She looks closely, recognises it with a little cry, gives a half stifled sob, and then runs out."
      This plays an important role in the play as this moment shows the contrast that Sheila represents towards the attitude of her father. This would become known to the audience as they witness a clear progression from naïve innocence to mature understanding and social awareness.

      This also shows that there is hope for the future and that ideas are changing; the younger generation are more supportive of Socialism and the idea of helping others and not just thinking of oneself. Priestley uses the play as an example of what can happen if we are ignorant to the feelings of others as this was an issue that he cared a lot about and one that recurred in several of his other plays.

      During Act One the audience would be given a sense of unease through the ironic references to various important historic events. In Mr Birling's speech towards the beginning of the play, he mentions the impossibility of a war and refers to the titanic as being "absolutely unsinkable". With the play being published after two world wars and the sinking of the Titanic, Priestley makes the audience determine their view on Arthur of that of a fool as they would have been familiar with these events. Whereas the Inspector, who states in his final speech that "they will be taught in fire and blood and anguish" suggesting that there will be a war, is lifted by the use of dramatic irony. This makes the audience believe the socialist views of the Inspector instead of the 'foolish' views of that of Mr Birling.

      The end of Act One ends in the middle of the Inspectors questioning of Gerald. "Inspector: Well?"
      Ending with a question would leave an audience feeling eager and on 'the edge of their seats'. This builds suspense, and keeps the audience involved giving them an opportunity to surmise the situation and what's happened up to this point.

      Priestley uses many character entrances and exits he does so to further the plot of the play. One of the most suspenseful being that of when the inspector leaves Gerald and Sheila alone, just after realising he may be involved.
      "Where is your father Miss Birling?
      He went into the drawing room, to tell me mother what was happening here. Eric take the inspector along to the drawing room.
      As Eric moves, the Inspector looks from Sheila to Gerald, then goes out with Eric.
      This provides the opportune moment in which the couple are left to discuss Daisy and the extent to that of Gerald's involvement. This leaves the audience feeling enthusiastic as they wait to discover the degree to his involvement and connection to Daisy Renton. This also reveals more about the characters and their (Sheila and Gerald's) relationship.

      Sheila for example is given the opportunity to show the audience how she really acts outside the company of her parents. It also shows the type of man Gerald really could be and if he Is just really interested in sex. First impressions of Gerald told us that he was a respectable business man but after realising he was involved in Eva's suicide we learn that appearances really can be deceptive. This also suggests that Gerald's character carries two different identities, one in which his pretence is of a societal norm and the other used for that of more private affairs.

      At the beginning of the play we, the audience take the Birlings at face value, forming all opinions of them entirely through their physical appearances. However Priestley changes our opinions of each of the characters, he reveals what they are truly like through speech and action. Priestley uses the Inspector's questions to draw out the true characters of the Birlings, showing them for what they really are.
      Priestley uses many different methods to interest and involve the audience. Priestley throughout the play keeps the audience always one step ahead of the characters by use of dramatic irony. The use of lighting and the doorbell as a sound effect gains the full attention of the audience, setting an atmosphere that draws the audience in, making them feel involved. The device of that of the Inspector is one that is excellently portrayed. Although seeming to be that of a character, the Inspector is used to incorporate the socialist views and message that Priestley wanted to carry throughout. The character of Inspector Goole is the catalyst for the evening's events Priestley describes the character as creating 'an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness...' The Inspectors appearance alone makes the audience automatically feel respect for his character giving Priestley the 'upper hand' in using him to portray his message discretely. Overall each of these techniques allowed Priestley to fully control the extent to which the influence is accepted by the audience.

      The message in which the play was created to carry is that of significant importance. The socialist views were effectively delivered to the audience in a way that earns the audiences accord. Priestley uses a character of lower class to represent the 'victim' of the situation. Throughout the play the audience discover every event of that Eva is mistreated for no real reason, all of which contribute to her unfortunate suicide. This combined with the socialist driven Inspector gives the audience a sense of guilt and remorse. Ultimately making them show a disliking for the Birlings and to agree to the views of that of Priestley, in which he believes in equality and social responsibility. Priestley believed in a society not bound by class and gender but where citizens were treated as equals, not like during 1912 (when the play was set) where those of high status could abuse their positions to get where they want and using lower classes as an opportunity for cheap labour. He believed everybody should show respect and show responsibility for one another and this message is one that is portrayed excellently and is one that is especially relevant today in our modern day community.

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        07.03.2006 22:37
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        Exciting, ironic and funny - A good read

        HOW DOES PRIESTLEY USE DRAMATIC DEVICES TO CONVEY HIS POLITICAL VIEWS IN AN INSPECTOR CALLS?

        The play An Inspector Calls conveys a strong political message. It promotes the idea of socialism, as a society in which community and responsibility are central. This is strongly contrasted with the idea of capitalism, in which 'every man is an island' and has to work for himself, with no second thought for other people. The playwright, J.B.Priestley, uses many dramatic devices, such as dramatic irony and tension in order to effectively convey this political message throughout the play. He uses them appropriately for the time in which he is writing the play and for the time in which the play is set.

        The play is set in 1912, Edwardian England, just before the war. This was a very difficult time for England. It was a period when there were many strikes, food shortages and great political tension. In contrast to that, the play was written and published in 1945, just after World War II, when the country was also in disarray. Priestley uses this time difference effectively, showing people that the way forward is socialism. He implies that in order to move forward and to rebuild the country, people have to work together as a society, instead of reverting back to capitalism.

        At the beginning of the play, Priestley sets out an extensive series of stage directions. He applies them effectively as a dramatic device, in that he uses them to show how the Birling family are cold, distant people and how capitalism has corrupted them as a family. He illustrates how the family are very well off, alluding to "dessert plates" and "champagne glasses" as well as other expensive items. However, there is also a sense of formality and distance between the family members as he writes that "men are in tails and white ties" and that it is "not cosy and homelike". He also emphasises the remoteness between Mr and Mrs Birling by situating them at opposite ends of the table.

        Included in the stage directions is the colour and brightness of the lighting. Priestley also uses this as a dramatic device skilfully. The lighting first used is described as "pink and intimate" showing a 'warm' and 'joyful' atmosphere. However the audience gets the sense that it is just a screen covering up secrets and that they are in fact looking through 'rose-tinted glasses' and that it is not really what it seems. This is confirmed when the Inspector appears and the lighting changes to a "brighter and harder light" where it gives the impression of exposure and the revelation of truth.

        In this way, the character of the Inspector has also been used as a dramatic device. He is used to convey a message, as a mouthpiece to Priestley's views. He makes it seem as if socialism is the true and honest way to live. The Inspector does not use euphemisms and instead uses graphic imagery in order to shock the Birlings into giving him information, "she'd swallowed a lot of strong disinfectant. Burnt her inside out of course". He also has a feeling of omniscience and an almost ghostly presence. His name, Inspector Goole, indicates this as Goole sounds like Ghoul and Inspector sounds like spectre. The Inspector is used to 'correct' the capitalists and makes a strong statement in favour of socialism in his final rhetorical speech. In this speech he states that for lower class, "Eva Smiths and John Smiths" there is a "chance of happiness" in socialism. The Inspector also makes the audience realise that they are "members of one body" and that they should try their best to help people like Eva Smith, otherwise, as the Inspector implies, "they will be taught in fire and blood and anguish". This almost acts as a threat to the audience and incites them to recognize the value of Priestley's message.

        Dramatic irony is also used in many ways as a dramatic device. It is used to promote the Inspector yet mock Mr Birling. In Mr Birling's speech at the beginning of the play, he proudly states that "as a hard-headed businessman" he thinks that "there isn't a chance of war" and that the Titanic is "absolutely unsinkable". With the play being published after two world wars and the sinking of the Titanic, Priestley makes the audience think that Birling is a fool. Whereas the Inspector, who states in his final speech that "they will be taught in fire and blood and anguish" indicating that there will be a war, is elevated by the use of dramatic irony. This makes the audience believe the socialist views of the Inspector instead of the 'foolish' views of Mr Birling.

        During the play, Priestley uses the juxtaposition between the Inspector and Mr Birling as a dramatic device. Mr Birling and the Inspector's views completely oppose each other. As the Inspector puts others first, whereas Mr Birling believes that you are responsible only for yourself. An example of this is during Mr Birling's and the Inspector's speeches. The Inspector talks about how "we are members of one body" and that we "are responsible for each other". However, Mr Birling makes a speech about how "a man has to make his own way" and how "a man has to mind his own business and look after himself". Priestley uses this opposition in order to dishonour capitalism and instead promote socialism. Another effective device used by Priestley is that of timings. He times the entrance of the Inspector so that he enters just after Mr Birling has made his speech, as if to discredit everything Mr Birling has just said.

        Priestley uses symbolism extensively as a dramatic device during the play in order to express his views. He uses Arthur Birling as a voice for capitalism, who is ridiculed by the Inspector, a representative of socialism. The dialogue between them shows this, as the Inspector repeatedly twists what Birling says, showing that he is the voice of truth. For example,
        "INSPECTOR: I'm sorry. But you asked me a question.
        BIRLING: And you asked me a question before that, a quite unnecessary question too.
        INSPECTOR: It's my duty to ask questions"
        The Birlings could also be symbolised by the seven deadly sins; Mr Birling being greed for sacking Eva Smith, just to save a few shillings, or pride for boasting about his wealth and high status. Mrs Birling could be wrath for being angry with Eva Smith over calling herself 'Mrs Birling'. Sheila could be envy for being jealous of Eva in Milwards, and Gerald could be lust for having an affair with Eva. The fact that they can be identified as sins shows how Priestley emphasises the immorality of capitalism, placing An Inspector Calls within the genre of a morality play.

        Eric and Sheila's positive response to the Inspector's message, compared to Mr and Mrs Birling's negative response, is also greatly symbolic. Priestley uses this generation divide to show that the younger generation symbolise hope for the future. The fact that they are remorseful of what they have done suggests that they (and the future generation of adults) will make a conscious effort to improve human relationships. Unlike their parents, who are only interested in wealth and material items, Priestley shows that the younger generation will endeavour to perform their moral duties towards their fellow citizens - especially people such as Eva Smith.

        Throughout the play, tension is continuously building up both between the Inspector and the Birlings as well as within the Birling family. An example of this is when Sheila asks about where Gerald was "last summer" and Gerald tries to cover it up. This shows how the underlying secrets within the family create lots of tension. Another example of this is when Arthur Birling tells Gerald about his possible Knighthood, then refuses to tell Eric about it when he enters. Priestley also uses repetition in order to build up tension, even before the Inspector arrives Mr Birling keeps hinting that they might have done something wrong, he emphasises "so long as we behave ourselves". Priestley also uses uneasy laughter and accusations between members of the Birling family, such as "unless Eric has done something", in order to build up tension. Priestley uses tension as a dramatic device in order to keep the audience interested and anxious to find out more, and so alert to his socialist message.

        Priestley also uses cliff-hangers to create tension. Such as at the end of the play, when Birling answers the phone to find out that a second Inspector is on his way and that what they thought was just a hoax was in fact true. Ending the play on this cliffhanger makes the audience want to watch more and find out what happens next. It also keeps them thinking about the play and it's meaning afterwards. Another example of the use of a cliff-hanger is at the end of Act One when Gerald admits to Sheila that he had had an affair with Eva Smith. The Inspector then enters and simply says "Well?" this hooks the audience, as they want to find out what happens next in the play, keeping them on the edge of their seats. Act Two then begins, exactly the same as Act One ended. Priestley decided not to change anything in order to achieve a sense of continuity. Continuity is thus used as a dramatic device to keep the play focused and concentrated on one subject. This also raises the tension and draws in the attention of the audience.

        Priestley emphasises the difference between the upper and lower classes very strongly throughout the play. He uses the Birling family as a representative of the Upper Class and Eva Smith as a representative of the Lower Class. Priestley shows how in 1912, Upper Class citizens, such as the Birlings had no respect for Lower Class citizens. He uses this class divide to convey his message and to show that the rigidity of the class system is incompatible with his views on community and responsibility.

        The fact that a meaningful message is represented would indicate that An Inspector Calls, as well as being a murder mystery, in the way that Preistley uncovers the story of the death of Eva Smith, is also a moralistic play. Preistley shows the audience how not to live their lives, using dramatic devices to demonstrate this. He makes the audience contemplate over the fact that they are actually "members of one body" and that they are all "responsible for one another" and has made them realise that socialism is the way forward instead of capitalism. In this way, An Inspector Calls is very relevant today's society where people still do need to work together and help others in need. J.B.Priestley effectively uses many dramatic devices in An Inspector Calls, such as symbolism and timings. He applies them in order to portray his political views, using an upper class, Edwardian family to do so.

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          19.04.2001 00:32
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          Electric! My son is studying the play at school so I was dragged along. I'd seen it once before many years ago. It's a favourite of am-dram groups because all it needs is one dining room set. I remembered it as slow and talky. Well, not this production! Even before the play starts we know something is strange. The edge of the stage visible infront of the curtain is bent and twisted. As the house lights dim the wailing of a second world war 'all clear' air raid siren sounds. A flap opens in the stage and out climb some young children holding a torch. It must be after an air-raid. But everything is weird. A wet cobbled road surface is distorted and it seems a house has been thrust up through it, it sits uneasily on pylons raised in the sky. The children wonder at it, then run and play. It's some sort of time slip. The house lights come on and people can be seen and heard through the windows. We are outside observers, looking back at a family in 1912. They are celebrating the engagement of their daughter to a young business man. The family is rich, the father is a factory owner. They discuss how life is becoming better through modern marvels, for instance the Titanic is setting sail soon, and dismiss nonsense talked about Germany arming. But most of all they scoff at talk of society, and that people should help each other. Its do- gooding socialist nonsense, they declare. Meanwhile their maid is swilling rubbish into the gutter where one of the young children sits, staring up at the house. He will remain there the entire time, and observer. A figure swathed in overcoat and wide brimmed hat appears in the street. He demands to speak with the householder. The factory owner is not at all concerned that the visitor is a police inspector. After all, he is friends with the chief constable and was mayor of the city for several years, and as a magistrate has sometimes to sign warrants. He knows the police officers in t
          he town, but he doesn't recognise this one. The inspector doesn't want a warrant. He is investigating the suicide of a young girl. And it seems she once worked at the factory. Why should that concern the factory owner. After all, he sacked her eighteen months before because she was involved in a strike for more money. The inspector seems to already know about that. And more. And he has to interview all the occupants about their knowledge of the dead girl. They all have had some connection, and the inspector seems to consider they all played some part in the girls death. One by one he questions them, exposing things they'd rather not be brought into the open. And life will never be the same again for some of them. But is he really a police inspector? This production is electrifying, stunning. There is no other word for it. Real water falls from the sky when it rains, the collapse of the family is echoed by the house crashing down, spraying the table settings all over the street so conversations are accompanied by the sound of feet crunching over broken crockery. The play has been opened up, and opened also to echos of the future, the children and people who inherit the world left by the factory owner and his kind are there - mutely observing. J B Priestley wrote a passionate play, intended to influence thinking. He wanted it to be set in one room to reduce distractions and force concentration on the script. But audiences have changed in the past fifty years, and this production catches the pulse, bring bang up to date the plays meaning while exciting audiences. While the run at the current theatre has ended the play will be returning to a new theatre at the end of the summer. Make sure you catch this production! Is he a real police inspector? My son suggested I consider his name............

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          17.10.2000 03:30

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          While studying GCSE English I was subjected to many hours reading and analysing literature, normally some of the most boring books ever written, however this play was an exception and I actually quite enjoyed studying it. As with all plays, it is made to be performed and as such it would be much better to see the play, either being performed at a theatre or by watching the film that has been made. The play is set at the turn of the century, and is centered around a wealthy family who are successful and prosperous in a time of poverty for many. They are oblivious to this, and given the fact that the play was written many years later the play contains much irony about the future, but not only makes us question our history but also our future, are we making the same mistakes over again?? In the case of the family the play continues this theme, they start off as a respectable upper class family, but one by one their darkest secrets are revealed by a mysterious inspector and each of their lives are ripped apart. But then it appears that the inspector is not who he seems, or was he?? More like what was he?? To understand this, and more then go and see this play. Rather than the usual boring old play with hard to understand language this is modern and deals with some serious issues.

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          20.07.2000 01:03

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          From the moment this play began I was in a state of suspense. The clues unfolded the characters became real and JB Priestleys classic thriller came to life. Everyone in the theatre became enthralled as the story of each persons part in the death was made clear. But who was actually responsible? Not for one single minute did my mind wander as I listened to the plot and tried to guess {thinking I had figured it out} and then thought maybe I had not. The time flew by and before I knew it was over and I wished I could watch it all over again.

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          18.07.2000 05:00

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          I have seen this play twice, first when I knew absolutely nothing about it, and was kept on the edge of my seat the whole time, and then when I had studied it in both English GCSE and Drama GCSE, and it rendered me absolutely speechless! The acting was wonderful, and it brought the story to life before my very eyes. There were moments so tense I was forgetting to breathe! It involved the audience completely, and everyone got swept along in the tension, laughter, drama and intrigue of the fabulous plot by J.B.Priestley. Both times I have seen this play the actors and set were extraordinary. Excellent excellent excellent is all I can say!

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          18.07.2000 04:55

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          Having heard rave reviews of this play, I was really looking forward to it, but came away disappointed. It began slowly, with some children running around soundlessly for what seemed like forever, but I still had high hopes and assumed that once the play proper began, all would improve. Sadly, the mannered acting made it very difficult to forget that one was watching a play and become absorbed in it. The set includes a house, in which the actors spent a good deal of time... making it difficult to see what was happening if (like me) one was not sat in the centre of a row. Altogether, this was mannered acting in a gimmicky set, and a real disappointment.

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          07.07.2000 21:02
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          I studied this classic play by JB Priestley for my English literature GCSE, and I wasn't particularly excited. It involves a middle class family in 1912 who are oblivious to the social and political change around them. Their life is shattered when a mysterious inspector appears and questions them about the death of Eva, a factory worker. The plot grows more complex as each member of the family is implicated in her death. However, because all the action of Eva's life occurs off stage, productions can be dull. This adaptation is BRILLIANT. The set is eerie and menacing, with the Edwardian house perched precariously over the war-torn London of the first world war, and the plot is emphasised by symbolic movements of the house, and the actions of the characters. It is impossible to describe! The Garrick is a very small, intimate theatre, and you are totally drawn in to the action. Everyone in my class loved the play, and I'm taking my parents to see it again next week! Go AND SEE IT! Its been running 9 years I think, and won loads of awards. It deserves them.

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