Maltz Jupiter mounts ‘In­spec­tor Calls’ with melo­dra­matic flour­ish

The Palm Beach Post - - ACCENT - By Hap Erstein Spe­cial to The Palm Beach Post

Po­lice pro­ce­du­rals have long filled the broad­cast air­waves, but in 1945 – be­fore tele­vi­sion took over our liv­ing rooms – play­wright J. B. Pri­est­ley em­ployed an in­spec­tor’s in­ter­ro­ga­tion of an up­per-class Bri­tish fam­ily to plumb the so­cio-po­lit­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions of their shared guilt over a young woman driven to take her own life.

If that sounds heavy, it is, but at the Maltz Jupiter The­atre, in a melo­dra­matic pro­duc­tion of “An In­spec­tor Calls” filled with stage sym­bols and py­rotech­nic flash, this cere­bral crime yarn set in 1912 Eng­land – a na­tion brac­ing for world war – also man­ages to be in­volv­ing en­ter­tain­ment.

Avowed so­cial­ist Pri­est­ley was in­tent on dra­ma­tiz­ing the ways the var­i­ous strata of so­ci­ety are in­ter­con­nected. When the mys­te­ri­ous In­spec­tor Goole ar­rives at the af­flu­ent home of in­dus­tri­al­ist Arthur Bir­ling to in­ves­ti­gate the death of Eva Smith, one-by-one the fam­ily mem­bers in­sist they know no such per­son. But rest as­sured they will soon learn of their links to the woman and the cir­cum­stances of their com­mu­nal re­spon­si­bil­ity for her demise.

In con­trast to Pri­est­ley, the Bir­lings are avowed cap­i­tal­ists, af­flu­ent own­ers of a suc­cess­ful man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in York­shire. In to­day’s terms, they are one-per­centers and the have-nots are their em­ploy­ees who are kept poor by man­age­ment’s ea­ger­ness to keep pro­duc­tion costs down. At a din­ner cel­e­brat­ing the en­gage­ment of daugh­ter Sheila to the son of Bir­ling’s chief com­peti­tor, pa­tri­arch Arthur scoffs at the im­pend­ing war. Af­ter all, he claims with cer­tainty, the world is on the verge of great tech­ni­cal ad­vances, like the soon-to-be-launched largest ocean liner which is said to be


Cliff Burgess (from left), Angie Ra­dosh and Char­lotte By­d­well in a scene from Maltz Jupiter The­atre’s pro­duc­tion of “An In­spec­tor Calls.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.