Island Players deliver on play with moral message

Island Players An Inspector Calls
“An Inspector Calls will run through May 13 at The Island Players. Call 941-778-5755 for ticket information. - File Photo | Sun

ANNA MARIA – It’s the final play of the season and the Island Players are ending on a high note with “An Inspector Calls.” The play, written by J.B. Priestley, is set in the early 1900s before World War I. It was written shortly after World War II and carries a “do unto others” message with a touch of science fiction at the end.

The play is complicated, but the Island Players performed it with perfection.

The Birling family is celebrating their daughter’s engagement. The daughter, Sheila, is played by Silvia Marnie, while her fiance, Gerald Croft, is played by Colin Brady, an English businessman.

Father of the bride Arthur Birling, played by Daniel Coppinger, also is a businessman and the two men get along well, discussing the perfect balance of charging enough for their products while keeping personnel costs low for a more-than-tidy profit.

Birling’s wife, Sybil, played by Caroline Cox, is the perfect wife who helps raise money for the poor, some of whom work for her husband.

As they make plans to celebrate the engagement, they get a call from police Inspector Goole who wants to question them about a suicide.

Goole, played by director Heiko Knipfelberg, starts questioning them about their knowledge of the suicide victim, Eva Smith. As the questions continue, the inspector starts making moral judgments about the family members. Smith worked at Birling’s company but was fired after she joined other workers in asking for a raise and going on strike.

As the questions continue, they learn that Croft had an affair with her and he paid for her expenses for a short time. Smith also had an affair with the son, Eric Birling, played by Lucas Piety, and was pregnant with his baby when she died.

With that for a plot, the people get very vocal and their moods go from guilt to sorrow. Finally, Arthur Birling makes a call to the police chief, who disavows knowledge of any Inspector Goole and confirms there was no suicide and in their relief, they drop the sorrow and guilt. What happens next puts this play in line to be an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” But you’ll have to see it to find out why.

Each cast member gives excellent performances, including Diane Phinney, who played Edna, the maid. It’s well worth the price of admission.

“An Inspector Calls” runs through May 13 and demand has been high for tickets. Call 941-778-5755 for information and to purchase tickets.