30 April 2008

Brief Encounter by Noel Coward and adapted by Emma Rice

Laura - Naomi Frederick
Myrtle - Tamzin Griffin
Beryl - Amanda Lawrence
Stanley - Stuart McLoughlin
Ensemble - Jess Murphy
Musician - Adam Pleeth
Ensemble - Adam Randall
Musician - Ian Ross
Alex - Tristan Sturrock
Fred/Albert - Andy Williams

Director and Adapter - Emma Rice
Designer - Neil Murray

Seen with the blue-rinse-crowd on a Wednesday afternoon in a lovely seat H 26 but I don't think there ARE any bad seats.

So much to commend this production but my viewing was marred by a cackling witch sitting in the row behind me. People on either side of me moved elsewhere in the interval. It was made worse by the laughter being at totally inappropriate moments which broke any mood of romance and some very clever set devices.

This is a magical production from the moment you approach the building. A wonderful old cinema in it's usual guise, it has been propped with old film cans and strewn with red roses everywhere to put you in the mood for nostalgia and romance as soon as you come into the foyer. The bar was littered with old style cups and saucers.

The stage is a huge open space gently draped with audience and comfy seats. With about 10 minutes to go before curtain up, the cast (all of whom seemed to be talented musicians, singers and dancers) serenaded the audience to their seats with the songs of Noel Coward.

A simple set worked very cleverly to facilitate each scene and the cast were superb in their roles. During the intervals, scones were distributed through the audience. Grab your twin-set and pearls and head for a one-stop entertainment shop.