THEATRE
Playhouse Theatre
Northumberland Ave
London, WC2N 5DE
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SHOW TIMES
Opened: 04 Nov 2016
Booking from: 24 Mar 2017
Booking until: 25 Mar 2017
Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes (including an interval)
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  • braintree 155cm female 33 reviews 5 helpful votes
    80% total rating An Inspector Calls, 28th December 2016
    An Inspector Calls, is a haunting look at the gaps in society and this production is a timely and important reminder that not much has changed since it’s 1912 setting, it’s 1945 premiere or even when it debuted as a production in 1992 at the National Theatre. Written in 1945 it is no doubt JB Priestley’s damning reminder what society’s treatment of others can lead to, following a second major world war in thirty years The family, the Birlings, are celebrating the engagement of their daughter Sheila (Carmela Corbett) to Gerald Croft (Matthew Douglas) and the play opens with us watching them, as if they were dolls in a doll’s house, seeming happy and content but this can only last so long. As the males argue about their role in society, with Arthur (Clive Francis) telling his son Eric (Hamish Riddle) that is every man for himself the arrival of Inspector Goole (Liam Brennan) and the literal opening up of the house reveal a lot more about this family than they ever intended. Brennan’s Goole strikes the right tone, a man not just seeking answers for Eva Smith’s suicide, but a representation of doing good, even as Birlings prove, we never quite manage to. There is a controlled anger that contrasts well with Arthur and Sybil, a fantastic Barbara Marten who plays the character as ice cold but brings out in the humour in her ridiculous airs and graces, Corbett’s Sheila is the character that develops the most but sadly the younger male cast’s performances felt very 1940s and thus quite hammy. and It could be that actually as a play this piece has dated considerably and modern actors simply don’t know to approach it any other way and the contrast of their spoof radio comedy acting in contrast with the calm and classy portrayals from the other actors didn’t merge well at all. I also questioned whether I had been exposed too much 21st century Coup de Theatre because whilst there are aspects of the set that are still stunning nearly 25 years on I wanted to see more of the home and Ian MacNeil’s set takes it out of the drawing room and seemingly into the rain, which is a great metaphor but not what the 16-year-old me imagined when doing her GCSEs I struggled with aspects of Stephen Daldry‘s (with associate director Julian Webber)production. I felt much of subtlety of Priestley’s piece was stripped away, with an ensemble cast seemingly watching over the Birlings. Priestley’s piece should be a claustrophobic look at society through one family’s eyes and whilst this is a fantastic production to see in the New Year it is a play that gives a lot and a production that doesn’t give as much.
    Sat in Stalls J21
    Some of the stage right is slightly obscured but the key scenes are not missed. The seat is comfy and I don't think you would feel cheated if you were placed here.
    J21 Stalls - Playhouse Theatre - Seat Review & View Photo
    View from Stalls J21
  • jamesatwill 178 male 58 reviews 1 helpful vote
    80% total rating An Inspector Calls, 10th March 2017
    I studied An Inspector Calls at school and saw a production of the play back then (about 15 years ago) but couldn't really remember much about it. As soon as it started everything came flooding back! I really enjoyed it and thought all of the performances were brilliant. The set is one of the highlights for me - it really is clever (and reminded me of writing essays on the symbolism of the house portraying the disintegration of the family unit). It's worth noting that there isn't an interval - we weren't warned of this before hand.
    Sat in Stalls Q14
    Even though this is the back row of the stalls the view was absolutely perfect. This theatre is fairly small so you don't feel too far away from the stage, and the seats in front are offset so there's no chance of someone getting in your way. For this production there are dim lights in the ceiling almost directly above you which were distracting at first, but then I got used to them and they didn't bother me.
    Q14 Stalls - Playhouse Theatre - Seat Review & View Photo
    View from Stalls Q14
  • joc78 5"4 female 173 reviews 2 helpful votes
    60% total rating An Inspector Calls, 24th November 2016
    The acting was top notch (particularly the actor playing the Inspector), however I wasn't that impressed with the staging. I found it a bit messy and cluttered. Why so much of the dialogue took place on the street and not within the house is beyond me. I found there were far too many extras as well which confused me as to why there were there! Overall though it was a good story well told. Unfortunately, the audience that night were horrendous. Coachloads of school-children were in and the majority of them were talking or eating throughout so the noise of sweet wrappers/crisp packets really started to grate with me! Such a shame!!
    There is limited leg room in this seat so not recommended for people with long legs. You are on the side of the stage but do get to see most of what is happening. You may need to lean forward slightly if anything happens at the front of the stage or on the far left
    A18 Upper Circle - Playhouse Theatre - Seat Review & View Photo
    View from Upper Circle A18
  • shaun 5"10 male 41 reviews 2 helpful votes
    80% total rating An Inspector Calls, 21st February 2017
    A very atmospheric production, it still works well 25 years after Daldry's version at the National Theatre. Priestley's script is what is magnificent here, with the central ideas powerfully expressing his social views in a very eloquent and unique way. Occasionally, it did perhaps feel slightly overacted, which may well have been intentional for comedic effect, however it did rather deflate some of the more hard hitting moments.
    The view isn't too bad for one of the cheaper seats, although the very front of the stage is cut off, and a safety bar gets in the way of some moments. The main issue however is the legroom is awful. For an average height man, your shins will be rammed into the back of the chair in front. The only redeeming feature is that you can reasonably spread your legs into the aisle, unlike the rest of the row.
    C9 Upper Circle - Playhouse Theatre - Seat Review & View Photo
    View from Upper Circle C9
AN INSPECTOR CALLS SEATING PLAN
Throughout the Stalls in the Playhouse Theatre there tends to be quite good visibility in all seats. Towards the rear of the stalls, the circle overhang does not encroach on the stage view too much, meaning that reductions in this area can provide good value for money if you do not mind being reasonably far away from the stage.

The best seats in the Playhouse Theatre’s Dress Circle can be found in the centre of the front four rows, although smaller patrons in the very front row may find it hard to see over the safety rail, however legroom tends to be particularly good in this area.

The Upper Circle can also provide good value for money, however a steep rake and great distance from the stage can be problematic for many. Legroom tends to be far more restrictive than the Dress Circle and seats near the aisle tend to have their view restricted by safety rails. Despite this, views in the centre tend to be generally quite good, despite being a little far away.
Playhouse Theatre, London interactive seating plan & seat reviews
STORY
Stephen Daldry’s multi award-winning and critically acclaimed production of JB Priestly’s An Inspector Calls returned to London’s West End in autumn 2016.

Having won more awards than any other play in history, this glorious production has thrilled audiences around the world with its incredibly innovative staging, gripping drama, imaginative sound design and thrilling suspense.

Set in 1912, the play follows the unexpected arrival of Inspector Goole at the home of the wealthy Birling family, interrupting Arthur Birling, his wife Sybil, and their son and daughter (Eric and Sheila) who are celebrating the announcement of Sheila’s engagement to Gerald Croft, heir to one of the most prosperous family businesses in England.

Arriving on the business of investigating the death of a young woman, the inspector soon unearths the hidden connections that all members of the family have with the deceased lady, forcing us to reassess both the family, and even ourselves, in the light of these new revelations.

Stephen Daldry is known for his acclaimed work in cinema, with his films Billy Elliot, The Hours, The Reader and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close all having being nominated for Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards. He has also seen great success on the West End, most recently with productions of Skylight starring Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan, The Audience starring Helen Mirren, as well as the smash hit eleven year run of Billy Elliot: The Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

Renowned as the defining production of a generation, Stephen Daldry’s version of the classic thriller first opened at the National Theatre in 1992, receiving three Olivier Awards (Best Director, Best Revival and Best Designer), as well as two Evening Standard Awards (Best Director and Best Supporting Actress). Following this huge early success, the show went on to have both West End and Broadway transfers (where it won four Tony awards), as well as going on extensive national and international tours.

Clive Francis, best known for his work on both stage and screen in films A Clockwork Orange and Mr Turner as well as recent theatrical performances such as 84, Charring Cross Road played the lead role of Mr Birling. He was joined by Liam Brennan (Diary of A Madman) as Inspector Goole and Barbara Marten (People, Places and Things) as Mrs Birling. The cast was completed by Carmela Corbett as Sheila Birling, Matthew Douglas as Gerald Croft, Hamish Riddle as Eric Birling and Diana Payne-Myers as Edna.

An Inspector Calls returned to the West End once again in 2016, giving a new generation the opportunity to see this masterful piece of theatre, with performances having began on the 4th November 2016 and perfomances having run until the 4th February 2017.
SUITABLE FOR
An Inspector Calls is one of the greatest plays to examine values and double standards within Edwardian society, as well as being reflected in today. Anyone wanting to experience a thought provoking play with a deep conscience should not miss the opportunity to see this play at The Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End.

With a highly gripping mystery and investigation at its centre, it’s also perfect for those who enjoy theatre with suspense. With Daldry’s renowned production featuring innovative set and audio design work, it is also both a treat to the eye and ear that develop JB Priestley’s classic from ever feeling like a stuffy drawing room drama.

Age Recommendations: Ages 8+
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