Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Brief Encounter - Lowry Theatre

Brief Encounter by Noel Coward
Adaptor/Director: Emma Rice
Musical Director: Pete Judge
Reviewer: Iris Beaumont

Stepping into the auditorium you were sent back to the 1930’s almost instantaneously as you are greeted by musicians and singers wandering up and down the aisles singing classic 1930’s Noel Coward numbers, and puts you right into the ambiance needed to recreate the classic black and white film live on stage.

I went to the theatre expecting a stage adaptation of the film, but director Emma Rice has gone back to the original Noel Coward play which tells the tale of three lovelorn couples, the first being Stanley the Bath Bun seller and the not so bright cafe assistant Beryl and were played out beautifully by Beverly Rudd and Christopher Price. Annette McLaughlin and Joseph Alessi brought to live the second of the couples and the steamy love affair between Myrtle (the cafe owner) who sees herself above everyone else and wouldn’t be seen to admit the affair with Albert was ever taking place. Then we have our third couple played by Hannah Yelland and Milo Twomey who play the couple the film focuses on (Laura and Alec.)

Emma Rice has created a brilliant night of theatre that cleverly fuses live action with film and blends them so seamlessly that the flow together with seer pace and excitement bringing Laughter one moment pathos the next, that there were clear indications of tissues being used to wipe tears from eyes amongst the audience.

Neil Murray must be given high praise for the ingenuity of his set design , that helps excel the narrative from one place to another with ease and, along-side his costume designs again brought a touch of 1930’s class to the proceedings.

This is a production that you can clearly see that everyone involved are having the time of their lives, giving their all to the fantastic characterisations and to the songs which are directed with panache by musical director Pete Judge.

I for one will be highly recommending this production to all my friends and family and can’t wait to see another kneehigh production in the future.
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