An Inspector Calls is a Nottingham hit

AFTER the panto, it’s the turn of something more serious and a “visit from the police” for theatregoers in Nottingham, writes Tony Spittles.

And that’s not a comment on the extended and unpopular on-street city centre parking charges now in operation daily from 8am to 8pm.

The real suspense is to be found in J. B. Priestley’s classic ‘An Inspector Calls’ now on at the Theatre Royal until this Saturday (28th).

This most English of plays was, surprisingly, premiered in Moscow in 1945, but will be remember by many for the 1954 movie version with Alistair Sim in the title role as the police inspector Goole who arrives unannounced at the house of local worthy Arthur Burling -- hosting a celebration to mark the engagement of his daughter to the son of a fellow business rival -- to investigate the suicide of a young woman who had drunk disinfectant.

Various stage versions have always taken the cosy, sitting room interrogation of Birling and his family, but this award-winning National Theatre production, which was last in Nottingham three years ago, strips away the padding to make it a knockout from beginning to end.

The half-size house exterior only seems to give the five main, well-to-do characters a fragile and uneasy sense of their own importance, which comes under increasing pressure from the inspector who implicates each of them in their own way in the death of the young woman.

This moral tale that we are all responsible for each other in one way or another still stands the test of time, and is sure to have enlisted a new legion of fans with standout performances by Tom Mannion (‘Spooks’ and ‘Midsomer Murders’) as the inspector, Geoff Leesley (‘Litte Britain’ and ‘Coronation Street’) as local bigwig Burling and relative newcomer Kelly Hotten as the bride-to-be Sheila whose party was anything but a celebration.

For details of showtimes and tickets please contact the Theatre Royal box office on 0115-989-5555.