Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brief Encounter (The SOB Review)

Brief Encounter (The SOB Review) - McGuire Proscenium, Guthrie, Minneapolis, Minnesota

**** (out of ****)

The all too Brief Encounter is one of the most magnificent entertainment productions you're likely to see anywhere this year.

But what exactly is it?

Well, catching its final U.S. stop (after it made its way from London to San Francisco and then New York), I can tell you that Brief Encounter practically defies description. It's a bit like that candy bar -- think "you got your film in my stage play" vs. "you got your stage play in my film."

As its conceit, director Emma Rice ingeniously builds on the precepts from the Oscar-nominated 1945 motion picture written by Noël Coward about two married individuals who enjoy a chance meeting in a train station only to find themselves swept away in a mad love affair. Silver screen images are shown on the stage, but it's seemlessly brought to life with a captivating fusion with live theatre. Topping off this delectable treat is a perfect blend of music from the era that breaks the fourth wall.

To say much more beyond this doesn't seem fair because this excellent production has to be seen to be believed and fully appreciated. But I'll add one more thing. It took Brief Encounter's spellbinding trip back in time to catch a glimpse of the future in entertainment and the integral role projection designs -- like those offered here by Gemma Carrington and Jon Driscoll to mesmerizing, dramatic effect -- can have in stage productions.

I enjoyed every moment of this thrilling, if brief, ride.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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