The relaxed performance of Noel Coward’s “Brief Encounter” only managed to awake a few emotions. The Knee High production was undoubtedly funny and having the cast singing in the audience area at the beginning, helped to focus. Nevertheless, the use of the “screen” was a rather unnecessary feature. The intention behind the screen was probably to comprehend the time lapse from 2018 to 1945. It did not help the performance.
The cast itself embodied their roles enthusiastically. The costumes were matching, even if all the women were dressed in nuances of red. The dress of the child-like and naive Beryl was a girly rose, while the tea room owner - a grown woman - was dressed in a dark red dress, which emphasized her female curves. Laura, wearing a plain a-line skirt and a white blouse, is mostly wrapped in a red coat.
The set combined all needed areas of the play and the locations could be altered, through furniture. It left enough space for the cast to loiter around as background choir and to follow the action occuring around the doomed lovers Laura and Alec. The bridge between the platform framed it well, and remained a constant reminder that they will be separated at the end of their meetings. Mainly the use of the projection and sound made it really worth to watch. The technology helped to comprehend the location changes and to awake at least a bit of sympathy for the characters.
Designer: Neil Murray; Lighting Designer Malcolm Rippeth