THEATRE REVIEW: Brief Encounter ★★★★★

Brief Encounter
Empire Cinema, Haymarket
Saturday 10th March 2018

After returning to the West End, where it was first presented 10 years ago, Emma Rice’s production of the cult classic 1945 film adaption of Brief Encounter is evermore now as beautiful and exquisite then ever, with Rice continuing to explore and push the boundaries of theatre with this production set at the Empire Cinema, which only seems the obvious answer considering this stories origin, but still manages to completely stun the audience with exceptional performances from Kneehigh members old and new.

After some wonderful performances from the production band in the foyer and cinema front of house, we are treated to an almost perfect replica of what is thought to be homage to the 1945 movie, with our two main characters, Laura (Isabel Pollen) and Alec (Jim Sturgeon), jump up from the midst of the audience to act out their first scene together, before jumping up on stage where the curtains rise and the stunning set, which revolves mainly as a train station restaurant and Laura’s home, to which she shares with husband Fred (Dean Nolan), and their two children.

What I really admired about this production was the authenticity of everything on stage to make you feel like you were transported into a period piece, whilst also managing to keep your focus in a piece which hurtles through many emotions as an audience member and still come out absolutely satisfied following the performance, which is not surprising considering Emma Rice’s ongoing beauty to what she effortlessly brings to the theatre industry. The production also manages to bring together a stellar cast of an ensemble, who all manage to receive sufficient stage time, and as no surprise excel further when performing the beautifully written songs, from original writer Noël Coward, in such a way that emotionally channels within where no other production has ever come close to in recent times.

Overall, Brief Encounter is a beautifully exquisite piece of theatre which I am incredibly honored to have witnessed in such a glorious theatrical setting which’ll certainly stay in my mind for years to come!


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