Strange inspector disrupts comfortable lives in Preistley’s gripping thriller

Looking for something different to do over the Halloween weekend?

The Copthorne Players are staging an ambitious interpretation of J.B. Preistley’s gripping detective thriller, An Inspector Calls, at the Copthorne Village Hall, from Thursday, October 30, to Saturday, November 1.

The prosperous Birling family’s comfortable lives are disrupted when they are visited by a mysterious inspector who forces them all to examine their existence.

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Regarded as one of the classics of mid-20th-century theatre, An Inspector Calls is now a prescribed GCSE text.

Director Christine Dale has decided to take the play off the stage, and into the round, allowing people to join the Birlings in their dining room as they are interrogated.

Mike McMahon, who plays the Inspector, said: “This is a powerful play. It’s stayed with me ever since reading it at school as a teenager. So when the opportunity arose to be the voice of Priestley’s anger at social injustice, I leapt at the chance.

“The play was first performed in 1946, when the issues it raises about shared responsibility would have resonated with audiences who had endured war together and were witnessing the birth of the NHS. But its central theme, that comfortable lives are not lived without consequence, remains entirely relevant to us today. In a time when the news is too often filled with stories of workers exploited to hold down costs or corrupt regimes supported to ensure the flow of oil, the play invites us to examine the price that others may pay for our affluence and to consider the effect of our actions on the lives invisibly intertwined with ours by a global economy.”

Tickets are available from 01342 713139 and cost £8 for Thursday, October 30. They are £10 for Friday and Saturday performances.

The Copthorne Players are always looking for people to join them on stage and off.