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What Is the Story of Brief Encounter?
Brief Encounter is a sweeping love story, aptly described in its opening film credits as “approved for public exhibition to the incurably romantic.” Alec and Laura meet in a train station and fall madly in love with one another, albeit in a restrained, British stiff-upper-lip sort of way. They are both married, so although they are swept away by their love for one another, the rules of polite society at the time (1930s Britain) make their passion a forbidden one. This black and white melodrama is neatly folded into the show’s more colorful love stories: a romance between the mistress of the train station tearoom and a station master and the puppy love of the tearoom assistant and her highwaters-wearing boyfriend.
Using the tools of music hall, classic British pantomime and story-theater — plus a bit of trompe l’oeil technology, via film projections — this production lets its audiences see a familiar movie with virgin eyes and, yes, fall in love with it all over again.Review by Ben Brantley from The New York Times
Brief Encounter is a giddily spinning zoetrope of interlocking illusions, an uninhibited fetish of Inhibition itself. More to the point, it’s about the thrill of watching someone else’s moral torment safely embalmed in celluloid — and doing so in a darkened theater, alongside row upon row of anonymous fellow voyeurs.Review by Scott Brown from New York Magazine
What Is Brief Encounter Like?
Though the central love story is tragic, Brief Encounter is anything but. The star-crossed lovers exist amid a snappy swirl of campy live theater mixed with remade classic film clips, songs, dance numbers and even a few puppets thrown in for good measure. It’s part romantic tragedy, part music hall romp, part classic film and part vaudeville act—count on plenty of ukulele.
Is Brief Encounter Good for Kids?
Though the premise is infidelity, which is hardly a subject for children, on a purely sensory level, Brief Encounter might be a treat for middle schoolers and older. Not only is the show full of film and music, the theater is done up to look like a 1930s film palace and a music hall band plays while you take your seats. There is no explicitly child-inappropriate content, but there is plenty of sexual innuendo. Teens would likely have a marvelous time.