Reviewed by Kathryn Harrison
On Tuesday night (20 February 2018) my husband and I headed to The Lowry Theatre, Salford Quays to watch Emma Rice’s adaptation of the timeless Noël Coward film Brief Encounter. Brief Encounter is set in the late 1930’s, just before the start of the second world war. It tells the tale of how a chance encounter between Laura, played by Isabel Pollen, and Alec, played by Jim Sturgeon, leads to an adulterous love.
From the moment we entered the theatre I could tell we were in for a treat with cast members performing songs and music in the aisles as the audience took to their seats. As the show began there was a clever mix of live acting and recorded projection which gave a wonderful tribute to the classic 1945 film.
The cast was a small company with just 10 players including musician’s however each and every member added great depth and character to the show. The music accompanied the performances so perfectly and in particular Jos Slovick, who primarily played Stanley amongst other characters, was outstanding as a musician and singer. The songs in the show perfectly matched the mood of the action, whether that was comedic or dramatic. The humour in the show wasn’t something I was expecting as it is a departure from the film however it fitted brilliantly and added light relief from the tension of the main story whilst also showing us different manifestations of love and relationships. Dean Nolan as Albert produced lots of laughs from the audience as well as some surprising dance moves then when playing Fred, captured the emotion of Laura’s betrayed husband exquisitely. Lucy Thackeray also added magnificently to the comedy of the performance in her role as Myrtle, owner of the station cafe where Alec and Laura first meet. Special mention must go to Beverly Rudd whose performances as Beryl, Dolly, Hermione and waitress were all equally hilarious she had the audience laughing pretty much everytime she stepped on stage, her comedic presence was such that even as a background player in a scene a small movement or action from her had the audience giggling away.
The whole show was exquisite, the most entertaining piece of theatre I have seen and I could watch the play over and over again. It is a 5 star piece that I would recommend you go to see immediately!
Tickets cost from £16 to £35 (booking fees may apply).
Brief Encounter is at The Lowry in Manchester from 20-24 February 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000