Interview | Anthony Ofoegbu & Yasmin Paige | Circle Mirror Transformation

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Award winning director Bijan Sheibani brings the Northern Premiere of Annie Baker’s critically acclaimed play Circle Mirror Transformation to HOME’s stage from 7th to 17th March with previews beginning from Saturday 2nd March.

In a small town in Vermont, New England, five unlikely strangers come together in their community centre for a creative drama class for adults. The free-spirited Marty, recently divorced Schulz, former actress Teresa, the self-conscious high school student Lauren, and Marty’s quiet husband, James. Over six weeks of drama exercises and games ranging from the hilarious to the heart-breaking, their lives become entangled and transformed in the most humorous and moving ways.

We sat down with cast members Anthony Ofoegbu who plays James and Yasmin Paige who plays Lauren during a break in rehearsals to hear a little more about that play which won writer Annie Baker the 2010 Obie Award for Best New Play, and was voted one of the top 10 plays of 2009 by the New York Times, Time Out, and The New Yorker.

ON (Opening Night)- How are rehearsals going?

AO (Anthony Ofoegbu)- They are going great, I think the laid back persona of Bijan Sheibani our director keeps us all calm, he’s so giving and thoughtful, he sees the vision that maybe we can’t at the start then collectively through the process we start to see it too, it’s been a wonderful reciprocation of ideas and minds, incredible minds, I feel very privileged to be part of it, I’m pinching myself still.

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ON – Can you tell us a little about the play?

YP (Yasmin Paige) – The play is very naturalistic, I almost want to be able to watch it but obviously I can’t as I’m in it, it’s quiet but there is loudness within the quietness as well, it’s definitely a play about feeling, it’s about life.

AO – The title itself Circle Mirror Transformation is interesting, the operative word being mirror, Annie Baker writes in such a true way, everything is said in the silences; it’s an incredible piece of work. As actors we get to look at ourselves within this work and for an audience it mirrors life but offers so much choice for interpretation dependent on where you’re coming from in your walk of life dependent on your experiences, you might connect with something different to the person sat beside you. The silences within the play are so important in terms of internal thought, internal process, internal practice, it also allows audiences watching to connect with that and feel that, that’s the beauty of this piece I think.

YP – It’s very much about stillness, at times in life there may seem like nothing is happening but there is so much happening, just thinking about something like a still life painting, like a bowl of fruit or a vase of flowers, in itself there may not be much happening but that fruit will eventually rot, those flowers will decay, that stillness will go on its own journey. When we reflect on life today where everything is so busy all of the time, we’re all always running around, talking, dashing from here to there, the tempo of life is so fast paced but in Vermont that’s not so, it’s the opposite so it’s a different world for us to inhabit, it strips everything back and what seems still and quiet actually is quite extraordinary and perhaps so with life’s journeys, we don’t realise or see that it has been a journey until we have gotten to the end and reflected on how far we have travelled. It’s a great insight into our internal journey in life.

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ON – What can you tell us about your characters?

YP – My character is the youngest member of the group who goes to this drama class in Shirley, Vermont. She’s 16 and professes that she’s joined the class because she wants to become an actress and she is quite insular and shy but strong minded and very intelligent. Just because she’s quiet and shy doesn’t mean that she doesn’t observe what’s going on, she’s very ambitious and restless. She’s young and almost waiting for life to happen then suddenly she’s in a room with these older people for whom life has happened, it’s really interesting to see how much they all learn from each other. I don’t want to give anything away but I feel by the end of the play she probably grows the most.

AO – James I think is an unsettled soul, trying his best but I think the skeletons in his cupboard are continually rattling and I think he starts to see and understand that more in the process that takes place within the play that’s augmented by his wife Marty who runs the adult drama class in which the play takes place.

ON – Will the play stay with its traditional setting in Vermont, New England?

AO– Yes, we’re in Vermont, hats off to our voice coach Michaela she has just been sensational. We have had a lot of fun getting to grips with the accents.

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ON – Have you enjoyed exploring the writing of Annie Baker?

YP – Yes, so much, she writes so beautifully about human experiences, she has a special sparkle within her writing, she like to put hope into her writing.

AO – She has a great understanding of humans, whatever we’ve been through, whatever experiences we’ve had there can be hope still. She has a wonderful way of giving us the remembrance of hope and being hopeful, she has a very skilled way of showing us through her writing what we can do to perhaps rectify whatever odds we think we’ve made in our lives.

YP – There’s s a lot of light and there is also darkness, it’s about searching in the darkness and remembering that darkness is interesting and there can be safety in darkens as well as in light and exploring the importance of both. I think being able to explore art is so important everything I’ve learned that has informed me has come from reading books, watching films, seeing theatre; it’s taught me so much about myself. Art is so self-reflective; it teaches you not only about yourself but about the world around you.

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ON – Are you largely on stage for the entirety of the production?

AO – Yes, it’s one setting in which all the action takes place.

YP – Although we are in one place it’s set over 6 weeks, so there are weeks to show the growth and progression and journey.

AO – Although you never see outside of that room you really don’t need to, it’s all explained, it allows for the imagination to be rampant in scope.

ON – Have you ever performed at Home before?

AO – No, I’ve performed at the Lowry, but only briefly, we’re here for a month so I’m really looking forward to exploring Manchester as a city. The architecture of the city, this beautiful building we’re in particularly really interests me. My dream was to be an architect but that didn’t happen so I always look at buildings, Manchester has some wonderful buildings.

YP – I haven’t either but I’m so excited, HOME itself is beautiful, I really want to see and explore Manchester, I can’t wait. There’s so much art and culture here.

Mirror Circle Transformation begins preview on Saturday 2nd March with an official opening on Wednesday 7th and runs until Saturday 17th March tickets available here.

 

 

 

Interview | Neil McDermott | The Sound of Music

Neil McDermott Headshot

Manchester’s Palace Theatre is soon to be alive with the sound of music as Bill Kenwright’s critically acclaimed production heads into town.

The five star production sees Lucy O’Byrne returning to the iconic role of Maria, a performance which led to Lucy being described asquite possibly the best Maria since Julie Andrews herself” (The Scotsman).  Joining Lucy as Captain Von Trapp will be former EastEnders actor and West End star Neil McDermott.

Neil who was most recently seen in the city as Chief Weasel in the hugely successful The Wind in the Willows is delighted to be joining this production of The Sound of Music which has been receiving rave reviews across the country.

We caught up with Neil ahead of the show’s arrival at the Palace Theatre on Tuesday 13th March to hear a little more about his role, his thoughts on the show and his thoughts on Manchester.

ON – You’re playing Captain Von Trapp who goes on a real journey from when we first meet him compared to the end of the show, is it a fun role to play?

NM – It is a real emotional journey, he’s quite down and depressed at the beginning of the show, he’s lost his wife some time ago and is left to father the seven children and is finding it all very difficult. He’s trying to move on but finding that difficult emotionally and also at the same time there’s a continual threat from the Third Reich taking over Austria which is playing heavy on his mind as well. Maria then comes into the household and spends lots of time with the children and manages to free the Captain from his slumber/depression and they fall in love and he manages to re-find himself. It’s a great role to play as recently I’ve been playing lots of physical roles lots of comedy villains, so to get the opportunity to play the Captain is a great one and one that I was really pleased I was able to do.

ON – Is it more challenging to take on a role that people know well or to create something entirely new?

NM – Both are challenging in different ways, creating something new is a challenge as you want to make sure you create something new, exciting and interesting, creating something people know well you still have to create something new and fresh but I guess you’re dealing with the audience knowing the character from previous productions, perhaps the film or TV series in this case, a role is nothing if you don’t bring your own personality and sense of humour so my job is to tell the story as convincingly and as sensitively as I can with all the skills I possess. It’s a big role and a big challenge.

ON – Will the staging of the production be in keeping with the style of the film?

NM – The staging is beautiful, it’s not exactly like the film as the stage version is different in parts to the film, the stage version actually came before the film version and there are songs in the stage version which aren’t in the film version. There will be differences but you can tell it’s the same show, the show has a wonderful Austrian feel and our designers have really captured that beautifully as it was captured so well in the film too.

ON – The Sound of Music is such a fan favourite, what are your first memories of it?

NM – I actually played the part of Rolf 11 years ago now in the London Palladium version when Connie Fisher played Maria, so that was really my first memories of The Sound of Music; before I auditioned I watched the film then had a year of doing the show.

ON – With so many classic songs in the show are you able to pick a favourite?

NM – The Lonely Goatherd, it’s a song where Maria and the children are having fun, in the stage version they sing it when there’s lots of thunder and lightning outside so they use it as a song to cheer themselves up it’s a really fantastic song.

ON – As a lifelong Evertonian how is it working with Bill Kenwright?

NM – It’s very interesting for me, this was the first time for me auditioning for him and as you do with a Bill Kenwirght show when you get to that last stages you go up to his office and you see all the pictures and memorabilia of all the Everton players and managers, it’s quite something when you’re in that room and I suppose as an Everton fan I was almost more affected by that than I was the show! He’s a great guy and we’ve had lots of great chats about the show and about my character, he’s been really supportive of me, I’ve nothing but positive things to say about him.

ON – Do you have any pre-show rituals?

NM – I always make sure I prepare as well as possible, I make sure I warm up, both physically and vocally, I always keep a bit of ginger around and chew on that to a liven my vocal chords ahead of every performance.

ON – What are you most looking forward to about heading to Manchester?

NM – I’ve performed at the Lowry a couple of times but never at the Palace theatre, I’m really looking forward to it, it’s a beautiful theatre, a huge space. I always have a good time in Manchester, it’s a great city with a lot of great people and a lot of theatrical history, you can sense that when you perform for Manchester audiences, they really know what they are watching and have a good eye for good theatre, it’s a pleasure to perform for the Manchester public

ON – With Manchester being the final stop on the tour are you able to tell us where we can see you next?

Not at the moment, as we come to the end of the tour I’ll be out auditioning again, so there’s nothing I can tell you right now but of course I’m looking for something to do after this show.

On at the Palace Theatre from Tuesday 13th March until Saturday 17th March, tickets available here.

The Replacement Child

Reviewed by Angela Hazeldine

Abooo Theatre’s ‘The Replacement Child’ Directed by Martin Gibbons had its opening this week at the fabulous Hope Mill Theatre. Starring Rupert Hill, Clare Cameron, Julia Haworth and Caroline Read this a heart-braking story of child bereavement told from the Fathers perspective.

The set, designed by Sorcha Cocran and lighting by Adam Murdoch is stark and creates a somewhat eerie tableau when you enter the theatre which adds to the tension before the play has even started.

The play begins with an awkward meeting between father Oscar (Rupert Hill) and teenage daughter Grace (Caroline Read) shortly after her 18th birthday. Grace wants some answers about Jude (Clare Cameron), the mother she never met. It is difficult to tell from the off whether Oscar is going to be very likeable at all, he’s coarse, angry and there are hints towards an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. But, as one audience member declared to Rupert in the Q&A session afterwards ‘You made me like him!’. It does seem to be theme throughout the play where in one moment you are very much on a characters side and the next minute they do or say something which leaves you finding yourself trying to work out ‘who is the bad guy here?’ But there is no bad guy, this is a story of a breakdown of a relationship after possibly one of the most traumatic experiences a couple could experience.

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At times, the language borders on poetic rather than naturalistic but once you’re used to it as an audience it flows beautifully. There are a few moments that are so powerful they take your breath away with audience members visibly gasping at points. The use of flashbacks and projections keep the story moving and the hour and ten minutes flies with so many emotional journeys in such a short space of time.

My companion and I couldn’t fault the performances, all of them powerful and heart wrenching. The chemistry the cast have is a testament to the supportive rehearsal process led by director Martin Gibbons and Clare Cameron who not only had her fabulous acting head on but who also founded Abooo Theatre. During the Q&A session we were treated to after the show, we discovered that the rehearsal process, along with everything Abooo Theatre do was very much geared towards making is easier for parents within the cast with rehearsals fitting around the school run and also being able to bring kids along to those very rehearsals. One cast member joked about having to come up with inventive alternatives to swear words having kids around.

I highly recommend this play and applaud Abooo Theatre, the cast, crew, director and producer Hannah Ellis Ryan on taking on this piece so beautifully written by Vittoria Caffola. Some would shy away from tackling such a sensitive, emotional subject but here it is done with heart, skill and sensitivity.

On at Hope Mill Theatre until Friday 23rd February tickets available

The Rat Pack – Live From Las Vegas

THE RAT PACK - LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS 4 Garrett Phillips (Frank Sinatra) Nigel Casey (Dean Martin) Photo Betty Zapata

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Reviewed by Matt Forrest

The last time I witnessed a Frank Sinatra tribute act was on a boozy night at the Edinburgh Fringe: it was an unorthodox interpretation of Ol’ Blue Eyes as on that occasion Sinatra had been crossed with Adolf Hitler, to give us Frank Sanazi… not the normal interpretation you’re used to seeing but one that left a lasting impression, believe you me. With that in mind, The Rat Pak – Live from Las Vegas would have to go along away to leave its mark, and by and large it succeeds.

The premise is a simple one: a recreation of the legendary Rat Pack shows from The Sand Hotel. In addition to Sinatra, we have Dean Martin (Nigel Casey) and Sammy Davis Junior (David Hayes). However to ensure that this isn’t an all ‘boys club’, we have the addition of the fictional Burrelli Sisters, (Amelia Adams-Pearce, Rebecca Parker, and Joanna Walters) and the welcome addition of The First Lady of Song Ella Fitzgerald (Nicola Emmanuel).

THE RAT PACK - LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS 2 Garrett Phillips (Frank Sinatra) Photo Betty Zapata

Opening with a cheeky dig at Sinatra’s alleged links to organised crime, we are introduced to Matthew Freeman and his 12 piece band, followed by Garret Philips as Sinatra. Instantly you can’t help but notice how Philips not only sounds like but also looks like him. Opening with versions of several Sinatra standards which include I’ve Got You Under My Skin and Goody Goody, Philips is in fine voice and commands every inch of the stage. What struck me was how clinical and cold his performance was, and I mean that as compliment because throughout the evening we see his persona begin to thaw as he begins to interact with his fellow ‘rat-packers’ and get into the swing of things, reminiscent of some of the concert footage I have seen of Sinatra.

Throughout the show, the cast all get their moment in the spotlight: Hayes does a remarkable job of Mr Bojangles, which drew audible approval from the audience, whilst Casey’s introduction as Martin adds some needed mirth and merriment to proceedings with a suitably laid back version of That’s Amore.

Both Hayes and Casey have difficult tasks for two different reasons: Hayes has to try and capture the energy and spirit of Davis Junior, whilst Casey has to embody the seemingly shambolic, slapstick side of Martin. Both achieve this perfectly, especially Casey who never fails to raise a smile every time he arrives on stage.

THE RAT PACK - LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS 3 David Hayes (Sammy Davis Jr) Photo Betty Zapata

Following the interval the show certainly takes a lighter turn, with more focus on humour and variety as the ‘rat pack’ boys perform duets with one another, as well as pull pranks and lark about. One area in which the show does have a few issues is that some of the humour, despite being of that time is certainly outdated: it could be argued that if you are going bring these shows to life then some of these childish, slightly racist and sexist ‘quips’ are needed, however the show would benefit if it found a different way of projecting humour into the show.

We are soon introduced to Emmanuel, as Fitzgerald who raised the roof off the Opera House with a fantastic rendition of Night and Day, followed up by a glorious rendition of The Lady Is A Tramp. Emmanuel has a cracking voice and certainly lights up the stage. The only real complaint I have is that more could have been made of her part in the show.

The show concludes with all the cast belting out Mack The Knife which is fabulous, somewhat inevitably it is left to Phillips to have the final world with a spine tingling version of My Way, which brings the house down and has everyone on their feet.

Overall a fun and hugely entertaining night out which will have you tapping your feet and clicking your fingers; alas upon leaving the theatre I wasn’t stepping out into the hot Las Vegas heat, but the cold Manchester air.

The Rat Pack-Live From Las Vegas is on at Manchester Opera House until 24th February, tickets available here.

 

Interview | Joyce Branagh | Vincent River

Joyce Branagh

Phillip Ridley’s thrilling and heart-breaking play Vincent River,, has been relocated to Manchester where it will receive its regional premiere at the award-winning Hope Mill Theatre next week.

Directed by John Young and starring Joyce Branagh and Dominic Holmes, Vincent River takes aim at homophobia and hate crime with a real and breath-taking honesty. This rousing modern classic, which premiered in London’s Hampstead Theatre back in 2000, slides under the surface of fear, hatred and love.

Davey has seen something he can’t forget. Anita has been forced to flee her home. These two have never met. Tonight their paths cross with devastating consequences.

We caught up with Joyce Branagh who plays Anita ahead of opening in Manchester to hear more about this exciting and intriguing piece of theatre.

ON – What attracted you to this production of Vincent River, and role?

JB – The play itself really. It’s been relocated by Philip Ridley to be set in Manchester, which means it feels like we’re doing a brand new play.   It’s a fantastic piece of writing – it manages to be naturalistic, but at the same time has lots of poetry within it.  It also has elements of a ‘whodunnit’ – we’re constantly trying to work out exactly what’s happening – and that gives it a huge amount of drive and drama too – which I think will be exciting to watch. Philip came to rehearsals on our first day, which was great – we got to pick his brains – but it also meant we had to do the first read through with the author in the room.  Dom and I were terrified! I play Anita – she’s a strong Mancunian matriarch – she could easily pop up on Corrie…straight talking, witty, sharp as a button, but because of the death of her son, she’s wounded and her vulnerability keeps surfacing.  She a really complex contradictory character – which is really intriguing to play.

ON – The subject matter of Vincent River is very hard hitting and emotional. Is it hard to shake that off at the end of the day’s rehearsals?

JB – It can be a bit pummelling doing this – especially at the end of a long day. But it only lasts for about 5 minutes.  Then you get back to real life.  And I think that because the play has a sort of cathartic element to it, that you have that too… you get it out of your system by doing it.  In a weird way, it’s kind of exhilarating.  We also tell each other a lot of bad jokes in the breaks.  (I have a huge supply).

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ON – I imagine that chemistry between you and your co-star is very important for a piece like Vincent River – how are you and Dominic developing this and are you enjoying working together?

Dominic is a fab actor – I met him in the audition, and to be honest he’s another reason why I took the job. I thought – “Ooh he’s good.  I’ll have to be on my toes with him”.  I feel safe with him as an actor – which is great.  It means you can let the characters battle, but you don’t have to.  And that’s what the play needs – two people who are sparring with each other – trying to work each other out get what they want. He also buys lots of mini donuts for us all, which I find very important in a co-actor.

ON – Vincent River is to be performed for a month at Hope Mill Theatre – have you been to this venue before? Either as a performer or audience member?

I’ve never performed at Hope Mill, but I’ve seen lots of productions there. (I’m going in a couple of days to see The Replacement Child actually…)  Because of the versatility of the space, it’s feels very different every time.  I thought I’d seen every configuration – but I think we’re doing something different again!   I think our audiences are going to be surprised by our set-up actually… but I think it’ll help to intensify the experience – make everyone feel that they are actually in the room with us.

ON – You are a regular on the theatre scene in Greater Manchester – why do you think we have such a vibrant and varied arts scene up here?

Why? – I don’t know. But isn’t it fantastic?  I feel like this year things may even have gone up a notch.  There have been so many plays on that I’ve really wanted to see, and so many coming up that I’ve had to get my diary out and strategically plan when I can fit everything in – and I’ve still missed some productions that sounded fantastic.

ON – You’re a successful theatre director as well as actor. Do you have a preference and if so, why?

No preference. I love both – and I feel very lucky when I get the opportunity to hop between the two.  With this I know what a strong connection John Young our director has to the play, which means I can relax and let him take the strain!   I love directing – getting projects underway, bringing a great team together and crafting a show… but then it’s so lovely to leave all that stuff behind and just solely get into the head of a character and bring them to life.  Especially a character as juicy as Anita. She’s a belter. Thanks Philip Ridley!

Vincent River begins previews at Hope Mill Theatre on Tuesday 27th Feb before official opening night on Thursday 1st March and runs through until Saturday 24th March tickets available here. Standard tickets £15 concessions £12.

 

 

 

Thriller Live

Thriller cast production shots

Opening Night Verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reviewed by Francesca Eagleton

The Thriller Live tour has moonwalked into Manchester, as it brought it’s all singing, all dancing soulful show back to the Palace Theatre.

You’d be wrong to think that Thriller Live is a biographical musical of Michael Jackson’s Life. Whilst there is potential for that to happen one day, director and choreographer Gary Lloyd very much focuses this show on Jackson’s iconic music and dance moves.

The lead vocalist and resident director, Britt Quentin proves that he’s certainly more than just a VERY uncanny lookalike to the great king of pop. From the outset, Quentin has his performance perfected, from pulling off the signature moonwalk to Jackson’s famous anti-gravity lean.

Thriller cast production shots

Thriller cast production shots

It doesn’t matter if you’re Black or White, or male or female in this case. Quentin is joined by five talented vocalists who perform some of Jackson’s classics including: Who’s Loving You, Smooth Criminal and Bad to name just a few.

Notably, amongst the performers Rory Taylor gives a chilling rendition of She’s Out Of My Life and Adriana Louise brings girl power to the show. As the only female vocalist, she proves that her vocals are just as powerful as the men’s, whilst providing pitch perfect harmonies and unique renditions to classics such as I Just Can’t Stop Loving You and Blame It On The Boogie.

Although, there isn’t a specific storyline the show begins in the Jackson 5 era with a set of Motown classics: I’ll Be There, I Want You Back and ABC performed by the incredible Ina Seido. This was quickly followed by Jackson’s 1972 hit Rockin’ Robin, but instead of being performed by a ‘younger Michael Jackson’ as it notably is in the West End version, there was a video clip of a young performer dancing and miming to the song displayed on a screen instead. This seemed a little out of place and dropped the energy of the show, as previous songs and the ones which followed were performed by live vocalists.

The cast is complete by a sensational group of dancers, who provide the energetic atmosphere that the show thrives from. They work tirelessly through every dance number without losing enthusiasm. A special mention must go to self taught dancer Antony Morgan, who brought humour and personality to various scenes throughout the show – notably during Adriana Louise’s seamless rendition of The Way You Make Me Feel.

Thriller cast production shots

It was expected that the cast would be receiving a standing ovation at the end of their opening night in Manchester. But the eagerly anticipated crowd were ahead of that game, as the opening of Jacksons 1982 hit Billie Jean began to play, the audience were straight up on their feet and dancing in the aisles for the remainder of the show.

Overall, Thriller Live feels very much like a concert rather than a musical, from the iconic set list to re-enactments of Jackson’s music videos.

But one thing’s for certain, you’ll leave singing, dancing and Shaking Your Body (Down to the Ground).

You’d have to be a Smooth Criminal to miss this Thriller of a show (sorry we couldn’t resist).

Thriller Live continues at the Palace Theatre until Saturday 24th February. For tickets and more information click here.

 

Brief Encounter

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Opening Night Verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Widely hailed as one of the most romantic love stories of all time, Emma Rice’s Brief Encounter is a thrilling and visually stunning interpretation of the classic tale of forbidden love.

Taking inspiration from Still Life, the short play by Noël Coward which later became David Lean’s 1945 film Brief Encounter, the production offers more depth to the characters surrounding central lovers Alec (Jim Sturgeon ) and Laura (Isabel Pollen ) providing an opportunity to add multiple layers including a sharp injection of humour, music and dance, which takes this audience favourite to the next level.

Innovative director Emma Rice takes the best elements of both the play and the screenplay as she delivers a faithful and fresh take on the story of two middleclass married people who catch a glimpse of what could be should they dare to leap out of their predictable lives.

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Upon entering the Lowry’s Lyric theatre, cast members mill about, dressed as 1930’s cinema ushers playing various instruments and singing harmonious ditties offering an instant glimpse into the musicality and originality of Emma Rice’s production and sending a clear message to the audience that we’re in for something a little different.

Multimedia elements are wonderfully woven into the exhilarating onstage action as the story of star-crossed lovers Laura and Alec unfolds. There is playfulness and passion as the tragedy of Laura and Alec’s forbidden love is interspersed with the comedy and joyful silliness of the two additional love stories within the production. Beverly Rudd and Jos Slovick as Beryl and Stanley deliver a perfectly judged interpretation of puppy love, all giggles, blushes and charming light-heartedness, Rudd providing a gorgeous version of Mad About The Boy while Slovick serenades his sweetheart throughout with his melodic observations on romance. Lucy Thackeray and Dean Nolan as Mrs Bagot and Albert are a delight, knowingly coy and completely hilarious, with the most impressively physical reprisal of Noël Coward’s I am no good at love you’re ever likely to see, sharp, witty and near acrobatic in delivery.

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Being a Kneehigh production the physical theatre element is second to none, perfectly judged it offers light in the shade of the heart-breaking love story which continues apace. The angst of Alec and Laura’s attempts to control their passion for each other is contrasted beautifully with the elation they experience when together which further adds to the intensity of their scenes together, the on stage chemistry between Sturgeon and Pollen is a joy to watch as love blossoms from their initial innocent meeting at the station.

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Designer Neil Murray, lightening designer Malcolm Rippeth and Sound Designer Simon Baker have worked in harmony to create something truly special as they manage to achieve the most striking of cinematic feels to this inventive production.

Innovative, deeply moving and impressively staged, Brief Encounter brings glorious technicolour to this most iconic of love stories.

On at The Lowry until Saturday 24th February here.