WHAT is the most sought-after ticket in Liverpool at present?

Here's a clue.

It has 19 awards and been seen by more than four million people worldwide from the West End to Broadway.

It's now on a much-awaited UK tour and it would be a crime to miss it.

It is the National Theatre's production of An Inspector Calls - the now famous 1992 interpretation of the complex murder mystery directed by Stephen Daldry.

Written in 1945, J B Priestly's ahead-of-its time drama about class and a 'have and have nots' society took place in 1912.

The two-act period drama was initially acted out in a plush, upper-class Edwardian dining room as its inhabitants celebrate their lives with an overbearing individual and collective smugness.

These are selfish characters who reek of arrogance and conceit.

The port wine flows freely but the engagement party soon turns sour when an inspector not only unexpectedly calls but robustly challenges each of their lives and their consciences.

Inspector Goole (Liam Brennan) has all the gritty determination of TV detectives Morse and Taggart as he reports the suicide of a working class wretch in a nearby hospital.

The finger of suspicion points to each and everyone of the two soon-to-be-tied families.

Goole reveals stories that wipe the smiles of their complacent faces as each figure is somehow connected to the deceased.

The Birlings' affluent home is shattered - in more ways than one.

Designer Ian MacNeil's set must have inspired the likes of film director Tim Burton with its stunning inventiveness.

Stephen Daldry and his fellow theatrical visionaries gave the play one of the most magnificent of visual make-overs.

On the opening night of this one-hour-50-minute version with no interval a fire alarm evacuation of the Playhouse building did not dampen the audience's enthusiasm many of whom were school parties.

I had my own flashback about much I would have valued this stunning take on the classic play in my youth.

And for all its sombre messages there are some powerful and unsettling comedic elements that sit well amid the moral graveyard created by the text.

An accomplished cast demand your attention from the outset.

Liam Brennan is faultless as the enigmatic Inspector.

Chloe Orrock as Sheila Birling and Christine Kavanagh as her mother Sybil convey the mounting tension perfectly.

And Jeffrey Harmer as self-made boorish Arthur is reminiscent of many other Priestley creations who ooze hypocrisy.

A chorus of non- speaking characters add an eerieness to the storytelling as World War 2 sirens wail throughout in this timeless take.

The ghosts of all our mistakes come back to haunt us all - Priestly said.

Daldry re-opened the case book and gave this masterpiece a timeless resonance.

Once seen - never forgotten.

Five stars.

A class act. 

The show is on until Saturday.

Tickets and details from 0151 709 4766 or everymanandplayhouse.com