An Inspector Calls
After weeks of much hard labour Bury Lawn School was able to present their production of J B Priestley’s classic ‘time play’, An Inspector Calls at their Bury Lawn premises. The cast of the play, which was made up of pupils from Year 9 to Year 11, took part in the production which ran over three days between May 5th and 7th and included two matinee and one evening performance.
The play which was written in 1945 at the end of World War II but set in 1912 covers three acts. The action takes place on a single night and centres on the interrogation of the wealthy Birling family by the aptly named Inspector Goole, about the death [suicide] of a young girl [Eva Smith / Daisy Renton] who is known to various members of the Birling family. The interrogation of the family by the Inspector not only reveals their responsibility for her death but also explores how she was exploited and mistreated by members of the Birling family. Some of the key themes explored in the play are that of moral and social collective responsibility, class, the supernatural and the generation gap.
Arthur Birling, the head of the Birling household; successful businessman and renowned for his social climbing, was played with extraordinary professionalism and assured confidence by Year 9 pupil, Tom Hulatt, who managed to accurately capture his character’s pomposity and arrogance. His wife Sybil, [not to be confused with Cybil of Fawlty Towers fame] but of the women's charitable organisation and socially superior heirachy who interprets the Inspector’s questions as "impertinent" and "offensive", was fortunately not offensively played by Year 9 pupil, Kummy Morla, who gave a beautifully realistic and engaging performance of the ageing Sybil also capturing her pomposity and arrogance. Sheila, the Birling’s excitable and rather playful eldest offspring, and whose engagement party the play has been centred around, was indeed ‘excitedly’ portrayed by Year 10 pupil, Danielle Thomas, whose very mature and polished performance delightfully captured the effervesence and youthful innocence of her character.
Original ‘Bad Boy’ Eric Birling, son of Arthur and Sybil, is revealed to have made Eva Smith pregnant; stolen money from his father's business to support Eva and is an alcoholic, [there is clearly no limit to his talents] was played by Year 9 pupil, Yuri Goruppa, whom it has to be said is far removed from the character he portrayed! Yuri put his own individual stamp on the character climaxing his challenging role with a superb performance brimming with confidence.
Year 9 pupil Sean Crompton, took on the role of Gerald Croft, Sheila’s intended, and introduced us to another ‘Bad Boy’ character. Gerald is the son of the owner of the firm in competition with the Birling’s. He is revealed to have secretly known Eva Smith / Daisy Renton who was his mistress. Sean’s mature depiction of his character belied his age given the proficiency of his performance. he role of the redoubtable Inspector Goole, that mysterious intruder and interrogator supreme whose quest to investigate the part played by the Birlings in Eva Smith’s death could see him gain the new title of Seeker of Truth and Justice as he seeks to make the family accept responsibility and show some remorse for their poor attitude and behaviour, was heaped on the shoulders of the equally formidable Year 11 pupil, Jonathan Barnett, and his outstanding portrayal of the inspector showed that his shoulders were suitably broad to carry the role with a sophisticated, charismatic and polished performance.
The Butler was, played by Year 9 pupil, George Burgess, whose enchantingly masterful performance saw him do his best to emulate the late Kenneth Moore’s rival character in ‘The Admirable Crichton’ and in doing so may well have paved the way for an audition should ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ return to our screens. The production was directed by Head of Drama, Fiona Charles, whose dedication, hard work and incessant nagging proved worthwhile given the success of the performance. She would like to express her debt of gratitude to the pupils for their hard work, devotion and patience and to the staff who helped backstage to make the production possible.
She has however, declined to comment on speculation that in looking for another challenge she is considering a stage remake of Ben Hur.