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An Inspector Calls – J.B.Priestley.

Core Theatre Productions Rondo Theatre

It is always a great sight to see one of Bath’s foremost fringe venues packed to the rafters with the next generation of theatre goers and Core Theatre have struck gold with this presentation of the Priestley classic which remains the staple diet of the GCSE curriculum.

The tale of the successful Birling family, enjoying a celebratory dinner is well known. A solitary and menacing Inspector Goole arrives and nothing is what is seems; following the apparent suicide of a young woman each member of the family finds themselves somehow responsible for her downfall, the results are life changing as not one of them is without some form of blame.

Mayur Bhatt is the legendary Goole, he is impressive in manner and whilst it is referred to many times that he does not act like a Detective many of his mannerisms would be beyond a 1912 confrontation; it is a good performance and leads the piece along at a even pace. Andy Cork (Mr. Birling) is a fine, bumptious, opinionated businessman worried of his reputation and little else.
Paul Aubin (Gerald Croft) alongside Birling is someone who thinks all will resolve itself and is somehow less implicated in the death, whilst Grace Hodgkinson (Shirley) and Ashley Shiers (Eric) understand the situation in far deeper humanitarian ways that alienate them from the rest of their family.

This is an accomplished production from set through to lighting (Paul Leader), directed by Natalie Taylor the nuances of the era are well captured alongside the quite horrific story unfolding before this very “proper” and socially mobile family, prepared to use and abuse their power to their own advantage regardless of the outcome; as Goole reminds them at the end of the piece, we are all accountable for each other and so in turn responsible for each others welfare.

This production will help decode the classroom text for the many students watching last night, live theatre can not be bettered in education and Core Theatre have certainly played a trump card this season.

Petra Schofield