Associate director Nick Bagnall’s vision for Sweeney Todd at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre is unique, intense and exciting, bringing out the very best of the venue and its performers.
Brief Encounter is a love letter to both film and theatre in which Rice combines elements of David Lean’s 1946 film with the 1936 Noël Coward play Still Life that it was based on, and then sprinkles in her own brand of magic.
As the leads, Isabel Pollen and Jim Sturgeon are captivating. Suitably reserved and excited at times they create a moving and heartbreaking relationship which blurs the lines between film and reality.
On the far side of Emma Rice’s brief unhappy tenure at the Globe, here Brief Encounter comes again, with a few fine tweaks, to remind us what Rice does best, and how playful, inventive, sincere and inspiring Kneehigh can be when it beats its own path through the woods.
You may find, by the finish of Brief Encounter, that you’ve got a little bit of grit in your eye too, but don’t be afraid to be swept along with this exquisitely flawless production.
My verdict? Brief Encounter is a love letter to stage and screen, beautifully conceived and immaculately performed – the show of the year so far.
Directed by Emma Rice, Kneehigh’s Brief Encounter is a fast-paced, superbly powerful, moving and yet hilarious piece of theatre.