Appearing on stage in a professional production is something hundreds of ambitious children dream of and for some of Richmond’s youngest actors, that dream has come true at Richmond theatre this week.

This week, adults and children from the borough have been on stage in An Inspector Calls, a JB Priestly thriller directed by Stephen Daldry.

The play opens at the Birlings’ home, a family in the midst of celebrating daughter Sheila’s engagement to Gerald Croft, son of father Arthur Birling’s main business rival.

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They are dramatically interrupted by the arrival of the Inspector, who has some questions for each member of the family after the death in the infirmary of a young woman called Eva Smith.

As the tragic story of Eva unfolds, each Birling family member must account for their actions, for their attitude and must face the truth of how actions have knock-on effect to those around them.

In this interpretation of An Inspector Calls, the set is broken into street and home, with the Birlings rich and lavish home standing out in a street of rubble that almost looks post-Blitz era.

Much of the first scene takes place behind closed doors, with characters stepping out of a distractingly small door into the street at key moments, until the inspector arrives and the walls swing back to open up the family to questioning.

Liam Brennan’s Inspector Goole is almost menacing and exudes passion for the plight of young Eva.

His soft Scottish accent soothes and terrifies as he delves into the minds and souls of each Birling and Mr Croft one by one.

He is joined on stage at the end of his piece by the supernumeries, who, with no lines, provide a dramatic backdrop to Priestly’s message of social responsibility.

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Parents Sybil and Arthur, played by Caroline Wildi and Geoff Leesley, are stubborn and reluctant to change as is Gerald, played by Matthew Douglas.

Their pomp and ceremony contrasts Sheila and Eric’s (Katherine Jack and Hamish Riddle) humility and shame, as the younger generation begin to understand how interwoven society is.

Ms Jack’s Sheila steals parts of the play, not simply because Priestly ensured she would be the first to understand his message but because she so brilliantly changes before the audience’s eyes.

Her comedic timing is an unexpected but welcome addition, as is Mr Douglas’.

It may take time to warm to the interpretation of the play, but it is enthralling and compelling and certainly conveys Priestly’s message.

Supernumeries at Richmond Theatre include youngsters Atharv Swaminathan, Lily Corbett and Nathan Walker. Also in the group are Vikki Hughes, Mia Tizzano, Leigh Dent, Danielle Thompson, Martin Rossen, Gerry Knoud, Andrew Shufflebotham and  Hugh Roderick.

An Inspector Calls is at Richmond Theatre until April 23. Tickets start at £14.40 and can be bought online at