Brief Encounter actor/musicians give The Watermill an emotional hit
at The Watermill, Bagnor
until November 13
Review by ROBIN STRAPP
Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter is probably best known from the iconic 1945 black and white film directed by David Lean and starring Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson.
Emma Rice’s refreshing adaption not only focuses on the central characters, housewife Laura (Laura Lake Adebsi) and GP Alec (Callum McIntyre) who accidently meet in a station tea room and romantically fall in what is a forbidden love, but also on the relationships between the staff who work at the station.
The versatile, highly-talented cast of actor musicians are full of energy and play a variety of instruments from strings to washboard and perform such classic Coward songs as Any Little Fish, Mad About The Boy and A Room With a View with style and verve.
Kate Milner-Evans is wonderful as motherly tea bar manager Myrtle Bagot, who is having an amorous liaison with stationmaster Albert (Charles Angiama), who brings this cheeky character to vivacious life, as well as playing Laura’s stoic, boring husband Fred.
Hanna Khogali brings much humour as the busy, yet sometimes belligerent, waitress Beryl who has her eye on Stanley (Oliver Aston making his professional debut).
Eamonn O'Dwyer has created a superb score that show musical director Max Gallagher delivers with assurance. He also plays multiple parts with enthusiasm and confidence.
Despite boat trips to the countryside, cinema visits to afternoon matinees and Champagne dinners, the ill-fated relationship between the charming Alec and Laura is doomed.
Neither can leave their families – it’s the1930s and morality and decency would not allow that.
Their final scene at the station as they say goodbye to each other is laden with pathos.
Harry Pizzey’s commanding set design impressively creates the period atmosphere with great attention to detail, which is enhanced by Ali Hunter’s haunting subtle lighting.Robert Kirby’s imaginative direction creates a fast-paced highly enjoyable production and the use of Foley techniques where an actor physically makes the sound effects to the side of the stage was a magical touch.
Oh, what a treat! The Watermill have yet another hit.
Book soon. www.watermill.org.uk