Still Life (Brief Encounter)

May 2009

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Still Life - by Noel Coward 
Performed - Wed 27th to Sat 30th May 2009 at Blackfriars Theatre

Against a background of the spirited flirtation between the ticket collector and hostess who serves the refreshments at Milford Junction station we see the pitiful love affair of Alec Harvey and Laura Jesson, its tentative beginnings and inevitable end.She is a married woman, and though for several months they try to enjoy their love while they can, after a while they find they cannot go on. Alec takes an appointment in South Africa. Even their last goodbye is spoilt by the intrusion of Laura's silly friend, and Alec leaves her with only a handshake. 

Set in 1936, Still Life was filmed as "Brief Encounter" with Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson.

Skilful spin on much-loved classic
Boston Playgoers promised the best of both worlds in its latest production, an adaptation of the play that gave rise to the film Brief Encounter.

For as well as bringing to life Noel Coward's one-act text, the long-running amateur group added scenes from David Lean's much-feted 1945 film.

To further treat cinemagoers, the set was even black and white (including Myrtle's Banbury buns), and there was a spot of Rachmaninoff to boot.

And, despite its classic status, there were times when the Playgoers' production outdid Lean's. Scenes which fell flat on the big screen found new life on stage - in particular when the furtive lovers discuss various lung diseases; in Lean's film, at once forgettable, but here thanks to the measured performances of leads Daniel Chester-Bush and Melissa Marlowe it gains a desperate tension as the two see each other with new eyes.

Jon Molson and Glyn Ruskin play Albert and Myrtle, the Stanley Holloway and Joyce Carey characters, and the duo bring welcome comic relief to the emotionally-wrought main romance.

The play suffered from some lengthy scene changes as excerpts from Lean's film were introduced, and tension created between the leads evaporated in the darkness, but otherwise this is a skilful adaptation of a much-loved classic. 
David Seymour - Boston Standard 10/6/09

In order of appearance, actors names on right:

Stanley - Trevor Fenton
Myrtle Bagot - Glyn Ruskin
Beryl Waters - Rachel Rowett
Albert Godby - Jon Molson
Laura Jesson - Melissa Marlowe
Alec Harvey - Daniel Chester Bush
Fred Jesson - Peter Kay
Waitress - Marilyn Bradley-Cobb
Mrs Rolandson - Liz Fenton
Young Man - Aubrey Worsley
Bill - Robert Green
Johnnie - Mike Sheridan-Shinn
Stephen Lynn - David Edgar
Mildred - Lucy Taylor
Dolly Messiter - Liz Worsley

Production Team

Director - Paul Gibson
Stage Manager - Bob Green
Set Design - Paul Gibson
Stage Crew - Bob Green, Liz Fenton, David Lane, Wayne Waite
Costume - Liz Worsley, Glyn Ruskin, Violet Truelove Wardrobe
Furniture & Properties - Gail Lingard, Lucy Taylor, Liz Worsley
Lighting - Paul Gibson
Sound - Paul Gibson
Poster - Paul Gibson
Publicity - 
Programme - Melissa Marlowe
Make Up -