Brief encounter tells the story of Laura and Alec who meet by chance at Milford Junction train station and fall in love. Both are married, and Laura is, torn between her feelings for Alec and her duties as a wife and mother.
This is Noel Cowards interpretation of the 1930’s will there be a happy ending?
In Emma Rice’s adaptation of Brief Encounter music, movement, puppetry ,comedy and inventive visual effects, combine with the classic story line, giving this production a fresh feel for a modern audience.
On entering the auditorium members of the cast, dressed in 1930’s style usher uniforms interact with the audience, shining torches, chatting in a friendly manner and singing beautiful versions of songs from the era. The set spills over into the theatre where your eye is drawn to the main characters sitting with their backs to the audience. From the beginning I felt I was part of their story.
The sets of this production are unique, as we watch the main characters walk through the back drops, appearing in a cinema style black and white film, moments later.
Isabel Pollen gives a very believable performance as Laura, I felt her guilt, pain and happiness.
For me the stand out performance was from Jos Slovick, as Stanley, who’s skilled playing and tuneful voice, meant that he held your attention every time he was on stage.
When the ensemble of musicians and actors perform an acoustic version of the main theme from the brief encounter movie I had Goosebumps.
I didn’t understand why the character of Beryl had to transport herself around the stage using a child’s scooter. Beverly Reid is an excellent comedic actress who doesn’t need such props to make her funny. Some of the comedic elements often felt misplaced.
We are big fans of Brief Encounter the movie; and although this production is very different from the movie in places, we thoroughly enjoyed it. We would recommend this version for anyone who wants to see an artistic, beautifully set production complete with stunning music.
Brief encounter moves on to the Lowry Salford until 24th February before heading to the Empire cinema Haymarket West End from 11th March until 2nd September.
Theatretastic rating 4/5: