Review: Superbly-crafted suspense drama

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“An Inspector Calls”, directed by Bill Kolentsis for Tempo Theatre, at Belconnen Community Centre. Until June 2.

SHOULD we live as separate individuals taking care of our selfish needs, or are we part of a society built on mutual support?

You can tell where English playwright J.B. Priestly stood in his superbly-crafted suspense drama “An Inspector Calls”. If we fail to bear responsibility for others, the blood and fire of a Great War will  be inevitable. This is just one of the many ironies in the play, set exactly 100 years ago in 1912, before the year and  in the year the Titanic sank.

Briefly, a comfortable family dinner party is interrupted by a mysterious inspector, who announces the suicide of a young girl. All are implicated.

Director Bill Kolentsis holds the attention of the audience in a production which is well-cast, with Tempo newcomer Mark Bunnett as the intimidating Inspector Goole holding the action together.

The play could have run faster and more smoothly, especially in the opening scene that reveals the divisions in English Midlands Society. A few lines were fluffed.

While all the characters are well studied, the two children Eric (Sean Flynn) and Sheila Birling (Clare Rankin) stand out from the sympathetic understanding of what the Inspector seeks.

This is not a “chills and thrills” melodrama, but a carefully-wrought set of scenes, well-sustained by Tempo and with a ripper conclusion.

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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