Capital Critics' Circle
Le cercle des critiques de la capitale

Reviewing Theatre in Canada's Capital Region
La critique théâtrale de la région Ottawa-Gatineau

An Inspector Calls: A classic thriller struggles to survive OLT’s treatment.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

An Inspector Calls
Photo: Maria Vartanova

Photo Maria Vartanova

An Inspector Calls By J.B. Priestley ,  directed by Jim McNabb

J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls is such a well-crafted play that it can even survive the ill-conceived treatment meted out to it by Ottawa Little Theatre.

So even though OLT’s current production rarely meets the script’s full potential, there are still some effective moments as a mysterious police inspector  named Goole descends on a well-to-do upper-middle-class household and proceeds to tear its complacencies asunder with his questions about the suicide of a young woman in this North Midlands town.

And there is no denying that the play’s climax, and the eerie conundrum it poses, can administer a satisfying jolt, even in a hit-and-miss offering like this one. At its best, An Inspector Calls displays its credentials as a classic 20th Century stage thriller by a master dramatist. But J.B. Priestley was also a dramatist with a conscience. It’s no accident that he sets this play in 1912, two years before the outbreak of war, a time when the smug certainties of Edwardian England were yielding to the first signs of fracture in the social order. (Continue reading » )