Keith Dougherty’s review of An Inspector Calls

June 11, 2019

Cornerstone Theatre Arts

Goshen Music Hall.

     An Inspector Calls is a British drama, originally written in 1945 by J.B. Priestly, and was first performed on July 6th, 1945, in Russia at Moscow’s Kamerny Theatre. One year later it was performed in Priestly’s native UK, and this well-regarded thriller has since won numerous Tony, Drama Desk and Olivier Awards.

Set in 1910, in the fictitious engineering town of Brumley, in Yorkshire, England, the play opens in the lavish home of the Birling family. In this unique space in Goshen, we are treated to the beautiful set as soon as we enter the theater. This was my second experience with Cornerstone Theatre Arts and once again, I was amazed at what they did with their intimate, alcove space. Major kudos to Cherie Gluckman (who doubled as Assistant Director) and Evelyn Albino for their sumptuous set design.

Celebrating their daughter’s engagement, we meet Mr. Birling (Drew Nardone), a wealthy manufacturer and former Lord Mayor, his aristocratic wife, Mrs. Birling (Marianne Ciufetelli), the daughter, Sheila (a mesmerizing Sara Johnson), the son, Eric (Sam Sherlock) and Sheila’s fiancé, Gerald Croft (Anthony Tether). Their dutiful maid, Edna (Victoria Ford) soon interrupts the festivities when she announces that an Inspector Goole (Ted Odell) has come to call.

To say that each of the Birlings, as well as Gerald Croft, are implicated in the death of a young woman, Eva Smith, would be putting it lightly. Skillfully directed by Bruce Gluckman, we are soon, and continually, brought to the edges of our seats. This well-crafted and performed script not only had me wanting to know more about the story, but more about each character.

As each story, and motive is revealed, we get to see these actors shine. As Mr. Birling, Drew Nardone is robust and completely believable, as he commands the stage and ably drives the story. Marianne Ciuffetelli gives us the proper amount of high-brow air, and ably portrayed the matriarch. A young Sam Sherlock gives a subtle yet revealing performance as the troubled Eric. I look forward to watching this actor grow. Anthony Tether portrayed the fiancé with charm and confidence, and I enjoyed watching his adept reveal. As the title character, Ted Odell competently gave a steady portrayal of Inspector Goole. In the all too small role of Edna, Victoria Ford stepped into her maid’s shoes quite convincingly.

As Sheila, this reviewer cannot say enough about the magical performance given by Sara Johnson. She expertly brought us the multi-layers of Sheila with skill and subtlety and commanded well-deserved attention. Brava!

With wonderful costumes by Jenna Comizio, and suitable lighting and sound by Kevin McDonnell, An Inspector Calls, is yet another production from Cornerstone Theatre Arts I would gladly, and appreciatively, see again. Yes, there is much more to the plot, which is best not to be revealed, but don’t miss another hit from this gem of a theatre company right in your backyard.

Cornerstone Theatre Arts production of An Inspector Calls will continue its run through Sunday, June 16th at the Goshen Music Hall, 223 Main Street – 2nd floor walk-up. Reservations required. Call 845-294-4188

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