Brighton Rock – 27 October 2004, London

The intimacy of the Almeida is ideal for a piece such as Brighton Rock, as essentially it is the story of three characters. Pinkie (the heartless young man whose upbringing has bred him for contempt and unable to love), Rose (the seemingly naïve but lost girl who loses her heart to Pinkie) and Ida (the lady who won’t take no for an answer in her quest to find the truth)

Pinkie’s quest for revenge against the men who killed his mentor is cold and unforgiving. This is man unable to love, strong in front of everyone but ready to crack and weep when under attack. Michael Jibson played the baby faced Pinkie, capturing the character of him, silently appearing, watching and calculating the disposal of his men as their loyalty fails. He was excellent at showing all the different sides to Pinkie.

Sophia Ravegelas played Rose, a lovely character who’s tale was destined to be sad. Bright and breezy she is chalk to Pinkie’s cheese and despite knowing all about him as she says ‘you love who you love’, it is not a choice you make. What Pinkie can’t see is that he will forever have her loyalty even though she doesn’t know he looks at her with hate and disgust. She is prepared to even die for him and he will let her do it o save his own skin. Sophia plays the part beautifully, an instantly likeable character and she sings with a strong and lovely voice.

Harriet Thorpe is excellent as the persistent Ida, never wanting to stop until she finds out what is going on. Her desire to help Rose ultimately saves her life. She is essentially a tart with a heart yet shows a vulnerability as at any moment she could be left alone.

Corinne Powlesland and David Burt were very good as Pinkie’s most loyal friend, Dallow, and landlady, Judy. The wedding song sung by Corinne captured the sadness of what the wedding day was, for she knows Pinkie is only marrying Rose to bypass the law as a wife cannot give evidence against her husband.

The stage was effectively used with wooden floor, metal stairs (as though they were the end of the pier), frosted windows shadowing the pub and café. The supporting case were strong and used effectively for the changes, at times lingering a little longer to become unseen observers of a scene. The slow motion of the horse race was very effective as you could envisage the horses going past as people reacted as onlookers of the race. The use of spots was very good during the songs ‘I won’t leave you / Nothing changes’ as Pinkie and Rose dance at a night hall.

The music is more functional than stand out, it fitted into the story and told us more about the characters.

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