The Palm Beach Post - - ACCENT - hap­ster11@att.net


The play is best known these days for a 1992 Lon­don re­vival in which di­rec­tor Stephen Daldry recon­ceived the work with height­ened the­atri­cal­ity, in­clud­ing a man­sion which im­ploded be­fore the au­di­ence’s eyes as the Bir­lings’ protes­ta­tions of in­no­cence crum­bled. At the Maltz, di­rec­tor J. Barry Lewis con­jures up a lowkey equiv­a­lent, as the wellap­pointed din­ing room in­te­rior self-de­structs and the blue sky over­head eerily, slowly dark­ens.

Lewis or­ches­trates a top­notch cast with a height­ened, histri­onic per­for­mance style, in­clud­ing fre­quent di­rect ad­dresses to the au­di­ence as if we were a jury sit­ting in judg­ment over them.

The com­pany is led by burly James An­dreassi – last seen lo­cally in Palm Beach Dra­ma­works’ “The Lit­tle Foxes” – who brow-beats the Bir­lings into con­fess­ing their links to the dead woman who used sev­eral aliases. If it strikes you that he be­haves un­like any pru­dent po­lice­man, you are on to some­thing, one of Pri­est­ley’s many rug-pulling plot twists.

Rob Dono­hoe is all blus­ter as Arthur Bir­ling, in­censed at Goole’s im­per­ti­nence. As his wife Sy­bil, Angie Ra­dosh is even more im­pe­ri­ous, with a haughty stare that would make a lesser in­spec­tor quiver. Char­lotte By­d­well’s Sheila is the most sym­pa­thetic to the dead girl, even af­ter she learns of her fi­ance’s ( Jeremy Webb) il­licit re­la­tion­ship with her. Cliff Burgess is tuxedo suave as young Eric Bir­ling, heir to the fam­ily busi­ness, which makes his un­nerv­ing all the more pal­pa­ble. And keep an eye on the stolid ser­vant staff, led by El­iz­a­beth Di­mon as their in­scrutable ma­jor-domo.

As usual, the Maltz de­sign work is first-rate, from Tracy Dor­man’s well-starched for­mal wear to Kirk Book­man’s harsh light­ing to Marty Mets’ omi­nously rum­bling sound­scape.

The Maltz Jupiter may al­ways be known for its mu­si­cals, but the skill and care it gives to pro­duc­ing plays is ev­i­dent in “An In­spec­tor Calls.” The bad news: the brief run through Sun­day is said to be com­pletely sold out. But be per­sis­tent and hang out by the box of­fice for a last-minute can­cel­la­tion.

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