YOU wonder how Noel Coward’s one-act play Still Life, which, in 1945, became Brief Encounter, David Lean’s iconic film, would go down with modern audiences.

Yet the audience at the Lowry was intrigued and receptive

Post-war couples, especially when happily married, generally remained faithful but after a chance meeting, these two are tempted.

They are engulfed by guilt whilst less restrained, unmarried couples flirt outrageously around them.

Much of the Kneehigh Theatre Company’s success is down to Emma Rice, who adapted it and is directing it.

She has cleverly cloned theatre with film and has included

Noel Coward songs, sometimes with new music. Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto predominates.

Multi-talented musician, Peter Dukes, accompanies the pair’s crescendo of feeling with Slow Down, Johnny and receives applause.

Scenes of the sea emphasise the strength of passion, whilst a ticking clock underlines the dull routine of home.

Isabel Pollen and Jim Sturgeon illustrate the intensity of their feelings and the scene where Laura is poised on an overhead gantry, about to jump whilst a curtain indicates a speedily moving train is well done.

Isabel portrays a Laura overcome by emotion and repressed sexuality.

Jim Sturgeon’s Alec is the perfect counter though, he, too, is married.

His gentle understanding is well presented.

A superb supporting cast add the necessary contrasts.

For instance, the antics of the workers keep us amused. The play is, therefore, not as tranquil as the film but this adds impetus and contrast to a great love story.

The couple are doomed when they are not even allowed a fond farewell

• Brief Encounter is at the Lowry until Saturday. For tickets, telephone 0843 208 6000 or book on line. Star rating: * * * * *.