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An Inspector Calls in to The Churchill to shock audiences

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 September 2019

Christine Kavanagh reveals the opening night of An Inspector Calls in Bromley has a secret special place in her heart

Christine Kavanagh reveals the opening night of An Inspector Calls in Bromley has a secret special place in her heart

Archant

It's a classic and is still doing the rounds of Britain's theatres. And now it's coming to Bromley.

Audiences will be forced to ask questions about themselves after watching the astonishing An Inspector Calls. Picture: Mark DouetAudiences will be forced to ask questions about themselves after watching the astonishing An Inspector Calls. Picture: Mark Douet

Director Stephen Daldry is bringing to the provinces the multi award-winning production of An Inspector Calls, after a sell-out West End season.

This verison of the iconic thriller from JB Priestley has been hailed as the theatrical event of its generation, winning more awards than any other production in history.

Incredibly, An Inspector Calls has thrilled more than four million people worldwide to date.

Inspector Goole arrives unexpectedly at the prosperous Birling family home, their peaceful dinner party is shattered by his investigations into a death.

Shocks, surprises and twists are all promised in this classic stage play. Picture: Mark DouetShocks, surprises and twists are all promised in this classic stage play. Picture: Mark Douet

His revelations shake the foundations of their lives and challenge us all to examine our consciences.

More relevant now than ever, this is a must-see for a whole new generation of theatregoers.

The story spans one night in 1912 at the upper middle-class home in the Midlands

Inspector Goole calls and quizzes the family about the suicide of a young working class woman.

Audiences will be forced to ask questions about themselves after watching the astonishing An Inspector Calls. Picture: Mark DouetAudiences will be forced to ask questions about themselves after watching the astonishing An Inspector Calls. Picture: Mark Douet

What follows is a tense examination of society's values as they were then, and to a large degree still now.

It was first performed in the old Soviet Union in 1945 and then in English at the Old Vic the following year.

Actress Christine Kavanagh said: "I play Mrs Birling, the wealthy matriarch of the family. She is rather imperious and intransigent and controlling, a class snob, and fiercely protective of her favourite and youngest child, Eric.

Shocks, surprises and twists are all promised in this classic stage play. Picture: Mark DouetShocks, surprises and twists are all promised in this classic stage play. Picture: Mark Douet

"Like all the family members in the play, she is taught a harsh lesson in a dramatic and terrifying way. The Inspector seems innocuous, but is in fact ruthless.

"Great parts for women of a certain age are hard to find and this is a terrific role, she has some wonderful scenes with the Inspector. And, courtesy of the creative team of Ian McNeill, set and costume designer, Rick Fisher's lighting and Stephen Daldry's direction she has one of the best entrances in the theatre. Her dress has to be seen to be believed.

"Not forgetting the wonderful music by Stephen Warbecks that provides what feels like a film score beneath the action. The music is thrilling, moving and exciting."

She added: "Great plays usually have a great message, and a timeless lesson for us all. The notion that 'we are all responsible for each other', to quote the Inspector, is particularly relevant today, given our political climate, and the 'me too' movement, and the plight of the homeless and disaffected - all of these themes are addressed in this play.

"Priestley believes that actions have consequences. You need to see the production to appreciate the craft of his storytelling, it's a thriller, and a whodunnit brilliantly told."

Of the hard-hitting production, she said: "No kid gloves or fusty drawing room drama rules apply here - the gloves are literally off in terms of the production, the performance style and the ingenious, breathtaking award winning set designed by Ian McNeil."

Young people study the play at school, what additional elements do you think seeing it told on stage can bring?

"There's nothing better than seeing a play live - they are meant to be performed and experienced not read."

Christine revealed: "I have a secret reason why I am particularly looking forward to Bromley - just shy of 40 years ago I got my Equity card at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley.""

An Inspector Calls will be at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley, between September 6 and 14.

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