Beginning September 10, Broadway audiences will have a short window of opportunity to see the theatrical production I deemed as my personal favorite for all of last year.
That's when the breathtaking British import of Noël Coward's Brief Encounter from Kneehigh Theatre starts its limited run at Studio 54. Seemlessly blending film and music with live action as its conceit, director Emma Rice ingeniously builds on the precepts from the Oscar-nominated 1945 motion picture penned by Coward.
The story centers on two married strangers 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 magnificently brought to life with a captivating fusion with live theatre.
Roundabout describes Brief Encounter as follows:
Roundabout Theatre Company in association with David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and Cineworld presents the breakout hit Kneehigh Theatre's production of Noël Coward's Brief Encounter, adapted and directed by Emma Rice.Led by Tristan Sturrock as Alec and Hannah Yelland as Laura, the cast also includes Joseph Alessi, Dorothy Atkinson, Damon Daunno, Gabriel Ebert, Edward Jay, Annette McLaughlin and Adam Pleeth. With the exception of Ebert, who served as an understudy for Eddie Redmayne on Red, all are making their Broadway debuts.
Brief Encounter updates a classic tale of longing with fresh power and passion. Brief Encounter is an imaginative new work that combines elements of the beloved film and the Noël Coward play on which it was based with song, dance and Technicolor displays of emotion.
Since Brief Encounter defies any tidy description, it simply doesn't seem fair to say much more because the melodrama has to be seen to be believed and fully appreciated.
But I will 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 from Gemma Carrington and Jon Driscoll can have in stage productions.
As the first Broadway play or musical of the season to open (September 28), Brief Encounter is only scheduled for a limited run at Studio 54 now extended through January 2, 2011. This is a must-see.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
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