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Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5DE
Ended 25 Mar 2017 after 4 months
"Daldry's 1992 calling-card production hasn't even begun to settle into some dusty, well-worn groove. In fact, not only is it ever-green fresh but it dawns on you that no other revival in this dying decade has come close to matching its breathtaking daring and faultless execution."
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Stephen Daldry's landmark production of JB Priestly's scathing social commentary returns to the West End this November. First staged in 1992 for the National Theatre, Daldry's reimagining has come to be seen as the definitive staging of the mid 20th-century classic, bringing new audiences to the drawing room drama of the Birling family, and their contribution to the death of a young working class woman in the Midlands of 1912.
One night in April 1912, the comfortably upper middle class Birling family gather to celebrate the engagement of the daughter, Shelia. Attended by her fiance Gerald, her younger brother Eric and her parents, Sybil and the boorish, dominating Arthur, the party is soon interrupted by the appearance of the mysterious Inspector Goole, who has come to enquire upon the recent suicide of Miss Eva Smith, a young working-class woman known to the family.
In his possession, Google has a photograph of the young woman and her diary, implying that she has named her tormentors within. Over the course of the evening, each member of the Birling family comes to realise they have all played a part in her downfall, in turn exploiting her, abandoning her, leading her to social and financial ruin, before she finally took her own life. Faced with the maddening guilt and unable to accept the responsibility, we see one devastating night in the life of this entitled family, as they all seek to escape blame, believing their wealth and status will protect them from the consequences.
Timely as ever, Priestly's blazing critique of social responsibility rings just as true as it did back in 1945, strengthened by our continued fascination with capitalism and our refusal to accept the realities of europe's refugee crisis.
Previews from: 4 November 2016
Opening night: 10 November 2016
Closing night: 25 March 2017
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