Jenny Seagrove and Nigel Havers star in this BBC Radio 2 production of Noël Coward's classic tale of forbidden love.
Laura Jesson is a happily married woman until a chance encounter in a train station café draws her to Dr Alec Harvey. Literally bumping into each other brings temptation, danger and guilt into their lives and a doomed love affair ensues...
A classic love story, Brief Encounter was made into a much-loved and hugely successful film in 1945, starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. This 2009 adaptation is faithful to Coward's original screenplay and features a distinguished cast including Jenny Seagrove and Nigel Havers.
The 'Classic Radio Theatre' range presents notable radio productions of much-loved plays by some of the most renowned playwrights, and starring some of our finest actors.
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I was slightly wary when I saw Brief Encounter was available, after all the film is iconic and surely the play would be very dated? But it is a real gem, Jenny Seagrove and Nigel Havers take on the mantles of Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard admirably and the rest of the cast are equally good . Although the story's morals are outmoded, they are charming and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire performance. Not for nothing was Nöel Coward called The Master.
Only if they had not seen the film! Seagrove and Havers are well cast (although the wonderful Nicholas Farrell is wasted) but it lacks the impact of the film and - perhaps overcompensating for the medium - Seagrove does sound somewhat hystrionic at points, contrary to the repression of the characters' emotions which is the crux of the story. Missed the Rachmaninov score too - why use it only at the end?
Laura is the centre of the story, and the conceit of having her narrate events to her - not listening, complacent - husband is brilliant, conveying her real isolation.
Perfect voices for roles but Seagrove overdoes it at times.
This is probably as good a radio adaptation as you could get - it's just that it's impossible to get close to the impact of the film.
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