Photo: Steve Tanner
When I saw Brief Encounter last year at St. Ann's, I wrote the following:
Just as a jazz musician interprets a song, Emma Rice has interpreted Noel Coward's classic play/movie Brief Encounter. Her riff is entertaining, funny, sexy, and quite creative. However, as sometimes also happens with jazz, she occasionally strays too far from the source material, with her additions not quite justifying her subtractions. I'm glad I saw Brief Encounter, and I'd give it a solid B, but I'm not quite sure what so many critics have been raving about.
On a second viewing, this time at Studio 54, I found Brief Encounter to be a sweet, wistful show when focused on the leads, and a funny, sometimes raucous show when focused on the supporting cast. I again enjoyed its creative touches, and I again thought that it occasionally strayed off-track. Interestingly, of the seven people I know who saw it the night I did, two adored it, two liked it, and three hated it.