An Inspector Calls
Shaw Festival 2008
Written by J.B. Priestley
Directed by Jim Mezon
Starring Benedict Campbell, Peter Hutt, Mary Haney, Andrew Bunker, Moya O’Connell, Graeme Somerville and Esther Maloney
Festival Theatre until Nov. 2
When actor Esther Maloney took the curtain call after a performance of J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls at the Shaw Festival, the audience was mystified. For most of us, she had not appeared in the play. In fact, it took me a minute to register that she must be the spirit of the dead girl central to the action. If you don’t blink, you might catch her spectral flashes. It is a provocative ending, though.
The play is Priestley’s expressionistic depiction of how no man is an island. He focuses on a mysterious police inspector who grills a wealthy English household in the Midlands. It seems that everyone, in some way, had a hand in the death of a young suicide.
The problem is that no matter how well-performed the piece is, if you have seen it once, there is not much more to reveal. For first timers, it is an interesting exercise in guilt.
An Inspector Calls continues at the Festival Theatre until Nov. 2.