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An Inspector Calls
An Inspector Calls

An Inspector Calls
Remy Bumppo Theatre at The Greenhouse Theater Center
Thru - Jan 12, 2014

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Remy Bumppo Theatre at The Greenhouse Theater Center

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Recommended

"...These people are all a collective symbol, of course, of our timeless ability to get caught up in the mastering of our little fiefdoms and forget what might be hammering at our doors. Along with the calendar, Darlow's production draws a formative link between "Inspector" and "Christmas Carol," the work of an author who knew how to entertain while taking advantage of how, at Christmas, our guard is down."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times- Recommended

"...Directed by David Darlow, the piece corkscrews through enough didn't-see-that-coming plot twists to fuel half a dozen mysteries. But having snared the audience with the mystery behind a grisly suicide, Darlow also delivers Priestley's barbed condemnation of the upper one percent's oppression - sometimes oblivious, sometimes intentional - of the less-fortunate masses."
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Catey Sullivan

Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...The Agatha Christie-esque drawing-room mystery is propelled emotionally by Inspector Goole (played by a charismatic Nick Sandys), a riddle wrapped in an enigma himself, who turns out to be the show's unapologetic conscience. "We are all members of the same body," he preaches, imparting a social-justice lesson while exhibiting otherworldly deductive reasoning. The mind-bending Inception-style ending is a bit maddening, but it's a strong reminder that these class clashes never happen in a vacuum. "
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Marissa Oberlander

Windy City Times- Highly Recommended

"...It's easy for us Yanks to argue enlightened labor practices and opportunities for economic advancement exceeding those Priestley castigates, but the accusations hurled at the outraged captives are disturbingly applicable to our own society today, where the indifference of the rich and powerful to the suffering of the poor and disenfranchised too closely echoes that of England's pre-World War One industrial counties. By the end of the evening, some of the culprits have taken their lesson to heart, some remain undecided, and some deny their complicity. With whom do you side, as you depart the theater for your comfortable homes."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...Darlow directs the proceedings straightforwardly, if not reservedly; the play's social implications feel a bit appended to the production. But given the emotional heft carried by the cast, including Isabel Ellison as daughter Sheila and Greg Matthew Anderson as her fiance, who palpably feel the reverberations of their actions, both timing and meaning could tighten as this production moves through its run. And it's Nick Sandys's outstanding Inspector Goole who will steer in that direction, rendering both fire and restraint as he imposes their penance on them, reminding us that in the callous mingling of the Birlings with the doomed girl, we too are susceptible to their sins. "We are responsible for each other," he insists, a lesson that should prevail in any era."
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Megan Powell

Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended

"...The action lurches like a runaway roller-coaster from accusations to recriminations to extenuations to justifications and again to indictments. It's a brilliant theatrical thrill ride. Darlow's deft staging fully exploits its every twist and turn. Once more, as with their earlier expose of upper-class skullduggery The Voysey Inheritance by Granville-Barker, Remy Bumppo serves up a delicious evening of thinking theater."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic- Highly Recommended

"...This plays work on all levels due to the spot-on timing and the strong performances from the cast. Once we get over the shocking plot twists, the play gets us thinking about the consequences of social inequality that still haunts society in the 21st Century. We leave this stunningly powerful play both entertained and thinking. That can only spark real change. Kudos to David Darlow for an elegant theatrical event."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Now- Not Recommended

"...Director David Darlow paces the play with dramatic intention. The lights flicker dim as a character monologues a memory. The conversation flow is haughty and sluggish. The banter of these aristocrats is overly-affected and not for humor for drama. That seems the missed opportunity. Nearly seventy years later, AN INSPECTOR CALLS would be more effective as a fast and furious farce. The uncomplicated plot and the recurring explanations are primed for speed and callback jokes. Even in this current production, the British wit is teased at with the comedy timing of Nick Sandys (Inspector), Greg Matthew Anderson (Gerald) and Lia Mortensen (Sybil). Despite those chuckle-worthy moments, the talented actors can't save this lackluster production."
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Katy Walsh

Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...If you are a mystery buff, then you MUST mark your reservations as soon as possible to attend Remy Bumppo’s masterful production of J.B. Priestley’s, “An Inspector Calls” at The Greenhouse Theater Center on Lincoln Avenue. Directed to sheer perfection by David Darlow on a divine set(Alan Donahue), this thriller ( the likes of Agatha Christie, only better) twists and turns throughout the two acts ( 2 hours and 15 minutes with an intermission) and many audience members will walk away with a different view of what they just were witness to. That is what makes this such a special theatrical experience."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...While most theatre companies are focusing on typical holiday fare at this time of year, Remy Bumppo has chosen an alternative to Scrooge and George Bailey that offers a similar message buried within a delectable period mystery. Although referred to as a classic of drawing room theatre, Priestly’s best-known work is a superbly entertaining indictment of society’s hypercritical ways, presented with wit, taste and artistry by one of Chicago’s finest theatres."
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Colin Douglas

Huffington Post- Somewhat Recommended

"...Directed by David Darlow, this deftly cast yet dutiful production attempts to play up the metaphysical aspects of the play, but with limited effect -- quite literally, I might add. From my vantage point, which was the center section of Greenhouse's thrust stage, I could scarcely make out Alan Donahue's projections, which I suspect add some evocative color to the storytelling, but I sadly can't confirm that given they were shrouded by backstage scenery. Much like the play itself, excess muddled a potentially provocative idea."
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Robert Bullen

Chicagoland Theater Reviews- Somewhat Recommended

"...Those interested in "An Inspector Calls" at the top of its game should seek out the 1954 English motion picture version that starred the great Alistair Sim as Inspector Goole. The Remy Bumppo production can boast of some strong performances and the company deserves props for bringing a seldom staged play of considerable merit to an audience who, on the evidence of opening night reaction, was unfamiliar with the work. The first timers seemed to be enjoying themselves throughout the evening, but the production undercuts the play's best qualities and the result is a staging that too often comes across as dated and obvious."

Dan Zeff