play was written in 1944 and had its debut in Moscow in
the following year where it was an immediate success.
Early English audiences claimed that the plot contained
too much coincidence. "If only everybody wasn't involved
in the girl's life and death", they said. The comment
offended J.B.P., but Priory audience can make up its own
three acts, which are continuous, take place in the dining
room of the Birling's house in Brumley, an industrial
city in the north midlands. It is an evening in spring,
Birling, a prosperous factory owner, is delighted with
the engagement of his daughter, Sheila, to Gerald, son
of his business competitor.
the dinner celebrating the engagement comes to an end,
an Inspector calls. He is investigating the distressing
death by poisoning of a young woman in hospital.
dead girl was a one time employee in the Birling factory
but was dismissed following agitation for higher wages.
This was upsetting in the extreme but was it the cause
of her suicide? The Inspector knows there is much more
to it. There was the occasion when Sheila, annoyed, and
jealous, complained about a shop assistant who, as a result,
had to go. You're right of course, it was the very same
girl now lying on the mortuary slab...
the investigation proceeds, it is evident that Gerald
is also involved. To the dismay of his fiancée
he also knew the dead girl secret assignations and that
sort of thing. We begin to wonder if it really was suicide,
or was her death even more sinister?