Kneehigh’s adaptation of Brief Encounter, Noel Coward's classic 1938 movie, has opened at the Empire Cinema on the Haymarket. The stunning late 20s interior of the cinema perfectly complements the production and gives the right atmosphere to the start of the play. Ushers in uniform greet the audience and sing while you find your seat. The ensemble are multi-talented, playing a variety of musical instruments during the pre-show and throughout the performance.
The play itself retains some of the cinematic qualities of the original film. It also mixed mediums, live action scenes interact with projected performances. Actors seamlessly step from the stage and onto the screen in a transition that is both theatrical and a trick of cinema.
The two mediums work well together in Emma Rice’s well thought out and executed adaptation. It is an excellent blend of classic cinema and contemporary theatre. The play is underscored with Noel Coward and Stu Barker’s music and lyrics, some is anachronistic, but it still fits with the style of the piece. Jos Slovick deserves a mention for his rendition of "Go Slow, Johnny". The song is both beautiful and tragic, emphasising the conflict of emotions in the story of the two leads.
As well as the central two leads, the play is filled with unusual and fun characters that fill the stage and give the play another layer of charm. Overall the play provides a nostalgic, classy and exceptional evening at the theatre.
Brief Encounters is booking through 2 September, you can get your tickets here.
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