The production, set in England during the winter of 1938-?39, takes place around Milford Junction railway station, and switches between theatre, song, and black and white film footage on a giant screen, drawing its inspiration from Noël Coward’s original stage play Still Life and David Lean’s classic 1945 film Brief Encounter.
Brief Encounter takes us back to a bygone age of romance and the silver screen: the irresistible passion of the chance encounter by Laura, a married woman, and the handsome Dr Alec Harvey in the famous railway station tea room.
Featuring many of Coward’s witty and debonair songs, Kneehigh’s production of Brief Encounter has been lauded by critics and adored by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, and was nominated for four Olivier Awards, including Best Director, and two Tony Awards.
Two Australian actors, Michelle Nightingale as Laura and Kate Cheel as Beryl will join UK and US actors including Annette McLaughlin, Damon Daunno and Joseph Alessi from the 2010 Broadway production, along with Scottish film and television actor Jim Sturgeon, plus Dave Brown and James Gow.
“I love romance, I also love fairy tales,” says director, Emma Rice.
“In Still Life, later to become Brief Encounter, Noël Coward wrote a play about an affair. Not a sordid affair but a love affair, an impossible affair, a painful affair, an unacceptable affair. It is written with such empathy, such observation, and such tender agony.”
Based in Cornwall, Kneehigh is one of Britain’s most exciting touring theatre companies, and has built a reputation for creating vigorous and popular theatre. In 2011, they performed The Red Shoes at the Sydney and Perth Festivals, as well as an Adelaide season. Company B and Sydney Festival presented Kneehigh’s Tristan & Yseult in the 2006 Sydney Festival.
Melbourne Festival Creative Director, Josephine Ridge said: “I’m thrilled that we will be presenting them to Melbourne audiences for the first time this year.”
“This is a wonderful example of their work – all the clichés apply: it really will warm your heart, make you laugh, make you cry and cause you to remember again the magic of a good story, imaginatively and beautifully told.”
Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins St, Melbourne
Season: 9 – 27 October 2013
Bookings: 1300 795 012 or online at: www.melbournefestival.com.au
For more information, visit: www.melbournefestival.com.au for details.
Brief Encounter will also be presented in Sydney, Wollongong and Perth following the Melbourne season.
Image: courtesy of Kneehigh