Review: Brief Encounter

by | Apr 29, 2023 | Theatre, Featured, Reviews

Brief Encounter at New Wolsey Theatre

Initially we are greeted in the foyer of the New Wolsey by music and singing. Some of the cast were performing songs from the 1930s & 1940s to entertain us on arrival and it truly set the scene for the evening.

This adaptation of Brief Encounter from Emma Rice takes a mix from the original Noel Coward one act play (Still Life) and the film ‘Brief Encounter’ which was made a decade later. The story of married housewife Laura who has a chance encounter with a doctor, Alec, at a train station. As they use the same station they come across each other again, and very soon, every Thursday when Laura is supposed to be doing her shopping, they meet up. Of course, they get closer and although both are married, embark on an affair.

Along with this marital affair storyline we have two other flirting couples in the play. Beryl the waitress and Stanley the station helper are young and giggly and try to spend moments together while working their shifts. Mrs Bagot, the café manager and Albert, the Station Master are also eyeing up each other, clearly their fondness for each other growing.

We get to see these three love storylines over the course of a couple of months and see how they develop. The love affair between Laura and Alec is fraught with guilt and they both try to halt their feelings. Laura starts to go slightly crazy as she feels so out of touch with her family life and tries to stop the affair, knowing it can never last.

We are kept further entertained with the other two, it brings a little lighter relief as we see the positive sides of love. Plus, this is a play filled with music. Although not a full on musical, the number of songs and ditties are throughout and highly enjoyable. The songs help to keep the feel of the era of the 1940s. In addition, there is plenty of comedy along the way which again adds the lighter tones against the mental anguish Laura is experiencing by having the affair. It neatly ticks the box for everything required in a play.

The set was brilliant, set centrally on stage with the station café being the main theme, there was a circular translucent curtain around the centre stage which the actors opened and closed appropriately. Scenes were acted (or sung) outside the curtain while props were moved inside ready for the next scene. The curtains were also used as a screen to project video footage, it was so fluid and gave everything a soft feel even though there was plenty of drama.

The cast were not only talented actors, they were all fantastic at singing and playing an instrument. It was lively, interactive, immersive, funny, dramatic and thoroughly enjoyable.

Cast

  • Nicola Bryan as Myrtle Bagot
  • Hanora Kamen as Laura Jesson
  • Jammy Kasongo as Dr Alec Harvey
  • Samuel Morgan-Grahame as Albert Godby
  • Tom Self as Fred Jesson &Stephen Lynn
  • Lucy Elizabeth Thorburn as Beryl
  • Luke Thornton as Stanley
  • Chioma Uma  as Dolly Messiter
Listings at New Wolsey Theatre

In association with Wiltshire Creative and Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

Author

  • Hayley Clapperton

    Hayley is a business co-owner working too many hours so it's a good job she's passionate about it. Hayley's down time is music, music and music of all types and she enjoys going to gigs, listening to new bands and breathing in the energy it creates.

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