A Brief Encounter with Noel Coward review

Kingston Bagpuize Drama Group

A Brief Encounter with Noel Coward

26th – 28th November 2009

The evening started with a selection of connected poems and readings by and about Noel Coward. These were ably executed by members of the Drama Group, with a splendid range of voices and styles, typifying the variety of different characteristics of ‘The Master’. The whole programme was informative and entertaining.

The second half of the evening was the one act play ‘Still Life’, which later was adapted to become the film ‘Brief Encounter’. Mrs Baggot (Suzi Dalton) the Refreshment Room Manageress was imperious in her delivery and reacted well to all who deigned to enter her domain. The waitress, Beryl, (Bryony Harding) had good stage presence and projection, a good foil to Mrs Baggot. The cameo role of the Old Lady was a joy to behold and well played albeit briefly, by Barbara Douglas. Albert Goadby (Lance Bassett), Station Supervisor and ‘gentleman friend’ to Mrs Baggot was well played suitably raucous, nagging the

unfortunate Stanley (Rob Hall) the Platform salesman. The two soldiers (Dan Rhodes and Matt Bassett) were delightfully cheeky towards the stony- faced Mrs Baggot and provided a humorous moment in the calm of the Refreshment Room. Mildred (Aoife Thomas) another station worker made a brief effective appearance.

The main two characters Alec Harvey (Rob Bateman) very clean cut and Laura Jesson (Stella O’Keefe) aloof were very proper in their fleeting meetings, subduing the hidden passions existing between them. Although well played by both, the smouldering passion was not always evident in their portrayal and could have gelled a little better. Leaving the ‘did they… didn’t they?’ ending that we have come to expect. Laura’s friend, who extracts the truth from her about her relationship, Dolly Messiter (Sally Lacey) was a delightful performance, very confident and appropriate.

The lighting and sound effects were superb, with the various trains coming and going. The set was very effective and in keeping of the 1930s. Overall a very enjoyable evening, well directed by Nick O’Keefe with some very good performances.

Nigel James