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.
The interactive movie footage in Brief Encounter is well done, there are trains enough to satisfy the most diligent railway enthusiast, and the breaking waves motif is clever. Maybe it’s a pity they couldn’t have intercut some of the David Lean film, it’s still a classic. But, in its own way, so is this production.
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.
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