BRIEF ENCOUNTER (play with
Ends 2nd September 2018.
In a railway station cafe, she has a smut in her eye, he is a doctor. This is
love, British style.
Noel Coward's classic script is given the Kneehigh Theatre treatment by Emma
(seen at the afternoon performance on 8th April 2018). Arrive early, as
you won't want to miss the "pre-show." The rest is about as British as the flag,
and indeed, rarely does.
An inventive re-telling of Noel "The Master" Coward's
classic railway story, this opens out the film by featuring her husband. It also
features a beautifully presented selection of His songs, by a talented actor /
musician team. Events engulf the audience in a mixture of live action, a little
projection, some puppetry and more than a little foolery along the way.
The frustrated (and very correct) lovers Laura (Isabel Pollen) and Alec (Jim
Sturgeon) could have stepped from the page of any 1940s novel. Ms Pollen has the
uprightness of the dutiful wife and mother, with economy of movement and speech
pattern to match. Mr Sturgeon gives us "manful" with a hint of scoundrel, the
pair quite obviously smitten and entertaining with it.
In supporting roles, Beryl (Beverly Rudd) takes the honours. With a couple of
other characters to play too, she once again demonstrates her comedic talents,
lovely singing voice (as those who remember her Regent's Park 'Into The Woods'
brat will recall) and a versatility that puts her in the top flight of character
performers in the West End at the moment.
Stanley (Jos Slovick) is her perfect partner in crime - and a talented
entertainer with a neat line in confectionery. Competing the station buffet
team, Myrtle (Lucy Thackeray) is hugely amusing as dispenser of dodgy buns
(also, possibly overcharging for tea - the monkey swears she asked the doctor
for 3d, when the projected menu said 1 1/2d, but still). Stationmaster Albert
(Dean Nolan) has more than a match on his hands, but his ability to improvise
and play a number of characters of varying ages should see him through - his
portrayal of loyal husband Fred being equally good.
Nice work from Katrina Kleve, Peter Dukes, Seamas Carey and Pat Moran as
musicians and various parts from ushers to cranky neighbours shouldn't be missed
and deserve equal mention with all others on the stage for sure.
If sometimes things feel a little long with music or a scene change
stretching out a little, no matter. Accept that this is a different time, and
pace yourself accordingly. As a little piece of time-travel, it's well worth the