Arts Projects Australia, The Concourse and Merrigong Theatre Company present
Kneehigh Theatre’s adaptation of Noël Coward’s classic romantic drama
to be performed exclusively in NSW at The Concourse, Chatswood + IPAC Wollongong
switches between theatre, song and black and white film
31 October – 10 November
$89, $79, Under 27s $47 Preview $59
The Concourse Theatre
409 Victoria Ave, Chatswood
theconcourse.com.au or 1300 795 012
Two Australian actors were cast for the production, Michelle Nightingale as the lead romantic female role of Laura and Kate Cheel as Beryl, will join UK and US actors Annette McLaughlin, Damon Daunno and Joseph Alessi from the 2010 Broadway production of Brief Encounter along with Jim Sturgeon, Dave Brown and James Gow.
Brief Encounter seamlessly switches between theatre, song, and black and white film footage on a giant screen, drawing its inspiration from Coward’s original stage play Still Life and David Lean’s classic 1945 film Brief Encounter which starred Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson and was nominated for three Oscars. Emma Rice presides over the marriage of these two as director and adaptor.
The action takes place around Milford Junction railway station in a café where housewife Laura Jesson has a chance meeting with doctor Alec Harvey. Although they are both already married, they gradually fall in love with each other.
I’m a happily married woman. Or rather I was until a few weeks ago. This is my whole world and it’s enough, or rather it was until a few weeks ago.
In Kneehigh’s version, the love story of Laura and Alec is paralleled by two other couples also playing out their lives and loves in the railway station tearoom. These intertwined narratives are interspersed with some of Noël Coward’s typically debonair and witty songs to create a breathtaking, delightfully funny and touching show that showcases all of Kneehigh’s trademark theatrical invention and knockabout humour.
As in Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey, the romance between characters of different classes is fascinating. The lower class characters are flirty and open whilst the upper class ones are refined and repressed. The work provides a great insight into British society, marriage and the role of women in that era.
I love romance, I also love fairy tales, says Emma Rice, director of the production. 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, which 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 presented Kneehigh’s Tristan & Yseult as part of the 2006 Sydney Festival.
Arts Projects Australia is delighted to present the national tour of Brief Encounter in association with their tour partners the State Theatre Company of South Australia and the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust; Canberra Theatre Centre; Melbourne Festival; The Concourse, Sydney; Merrigong Theatre Company at Illawarra Performing Arts Centre; and the Regal Theatre, Perth.
Director: Emma Rice Scenic and Costume Designer: Neil Murray Lighting Designer: Malcolm Rippeth Projection Designers: Gemma Carrington and Jon Driscoll Original Music: Stu Barker Sound Designer: Simon Baker Producer for Kneehigh: Paul Crewes. Originally produced by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and Cineworld. Produced by arrangement with David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers.
- The Concourse, Chatswood, 409 Victoria Ave, Chatswood, NSW, 2067
- 31 October – 10 November
- $89, $79, Under 27s $47 Preview $59
- The Concourse Theatre, 409 Victoria Ave, Chatswood
- theconcourse.com.au or 1300 795 012
- Illawarra Performing Arts Centre (IPAC) 32 Burelli St, Wollongong NSW 2500
- 20 November – 23 November
- Tickets $41-$67
- Transaction fees apply to phone and internet bookings
- IPAC Box Office (02) 4224 5999
Emma, Emma Collison Publicity 0418 584 795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.