Beckenham-born Lucy to star in West End adaptation of Brief Encounter

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:53 21 February 2018

Lucy Thackeray. Picture: Steve Tanner

Lucy Thackeray. Picture: Steve Tanner


Beckenham-born Lucy Thackeray is to star in the West End as Myrtle Bagot in Kneehigh’s production of Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter, adapted and directed by Emma Rice.

Lucy Thackery as Myrtle. Picture: Steve TannerLucy Thackery as Myrtle. Picture: Steve Tanner

The award-winning show was originally produced at Birmingham Repertory Theatre before conquering the West End in 2008, subsequently receiving great critical acclaim on Broadway and touring worldwide.

A chance meeting in a railway station café where they were brought together by Laura ‘getting a little piece of grit in my eye’, led to one of the most haunting and heart-breaking love stories ever told.

Emma explained how she enjoyed the intensity of the production, as well as putting her own spin on it: “I’ve always loved getting lost in the dark, and the cinema is one of the best places to do it.

“However, a film doesn’t change.

“It carries on whether you are there or not: performances are captured forever, never altering.

“My production of Brief Encounter combines the romance of cinema with all that live theatre can offer - magic, passion, surprise, suggestion and naughtiness.

“I carry this show in my heart and couldn’t be more excited to return to this heart-pounding production and bring it back to its rightful home at the Empire Cinema.

“Radical and romantic, nostalgic but oh, so relevant - let passions ignite!”

Speaking about how the part came about for her, Lucy said: “I had worked with Emma Rice before, on a Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“She offered me this part without an audition, which has never happened to me before.

“It has been great fun because of the lovely company, and the show itself has a lot of singing and is very lively.”

Lucy explained the key differences as well an continuities between the original film and the production: “It is a different style from the film, but it’s faithful to the story.

“The film was originally based on the short play Still Life, which is stays true to.

“Although it is basically the same, some scenes are included which aren’t in the film and the play is more exuberant and fun.

“I enjoy the larger-than-life characters, including Myrtle, who is so much fun to play.

“She is given slightly more of a story in this version as we see her have a love story of her own”.

Speaking about how she began acting, Lucy added: “I have been professionally acting for 12 years now.

“I started off just doing plays at my school in Orpington, I had a great drama teacher who encouraged me to try for drama school.

“I ended up training at East 15 Acting School for three years.”

Lucy, herself not a stranger to the greatness of the story, explained that she had seen the stage version before: “I saw it ten years ago.

“I remember I went by myself randomly, but it was just one of the best things I have ever seen, so when they asked me to do this I just couldn’t believe it.

“I still have to pinch myself at times.”

Lucy is looking forward to the show coming to London, and enjoys the fact that she is close to her home town: “I grew up in Beckenham but used to hang out in Bromley all the time.”

Producers David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers said, “Emma Rice’s award-winning theatrical production of Brief Encounter is one of the highlights of our producing career.

“It is incredibly exciting to bring it back to London’s West End after it has triumphed all over the world and to present it in the restored Empire Cinema, which was built in 1926 as the Carlton Theatre.

“Our wonderful stage production of Brief Encounter switches between live action and film, so we will once again be turning the cinema into a theatre especially for this show.”

Following previews from March 2, the production will open at the Empire Cinema Haymarket on March 11 and play a limited season until September 2.

Tickets are on sale now.

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