REVIEW: Brief Encounter for MELBOURNE FESTIVAL

Famous movie romance revisited

By Myron My

Brief Encounter

As part of the Melbourne Festival, an adaptation of the 1945 film classic Brief Encounter has been brought to the stage. It’s a story of finding love through a chance meeting and the sacrifices one is willing to make to keep that love.

There are strong performances from the whole cast particularly including its two leads, Michelle Nightingale and Jim Sturgeon as lovers Laura and Alec. They are wholly committed to their characters even with the frenetic pace and sense of urgency that is felt throughout the show.

Talented Damon Daunno’s portrayal of Stanley is a highlight of the play: If he’s not utterly capturing our attention on stage he is playing various instruments such us the ukulele, guitar and bass as well as singing with the rest of the live band.

Emma Rice’s direction is impressive and I particularly liked her incorporation of “special effects” into scenes, such as the newspaper blowing in the wind and the wringing of water from clothes. The latter scene also had some well-crafted choreography after Laura and Alec fall into the lake and begin taking off their wet clothes.

The way the backdrop is used is another excellent example of the clever stagecraft in Brief Encounter, as is the multi-media platform used to convey this story. The pre-recorded scenes mesh very well with the action that is occurring on stage, paying beautiful homage to the film.

Visually and musically, there is much happening in Brief Encounter that it can distract from the story. However I found this actually works in its favour, as the plot is somewhat predictable and could otherwise be quite dull.

I’ve heard many comparisons by fans to the actual film version of Brief Encounter and claims of being disappointed the stage production doesn’t live up to those expectations but having never seen the film (this will be rectified soon) I walked out having thoroughly enjoyed this captivating show.

Venue: Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins Street, Melbourne.

Fri 11, 18 & 25 Oct at 8pm
Sat 12, 19 & 26 Oct at 2pm, 8pm
Sun 13, Sun 20 & Sun 27 Oct at 5pm
Tue 15 & 22 Oct at 6.30pm
Wed 16 & 23 Oct at 11am, 6.30pm
Thu 17 & 24 Oct at 8pm
 8:00pm

Tickets: Full from $79 | Conc from $69

Bookings: 1300 795 012 or http://premier.ticketek.com.au

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