Heartbreak at core of Skiing on Broken Glass

Michael Booth (Mark) and David Darrow (Todd) in Skiing on Broken Glass.
Michael Booth (Mark) and David Darrow (Todd) in Skiing on Broken Glass.
Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp

Love is in the air in Skiing on Broken Glass, the Guthrie Theater remount of David Goldstein's Minnesota Fringe Festival show. So is pain, angst, and plenty of misplaced feelings.

Riding the skills and performances of a quartet of talented actors, the piece ends up being far more effective than Goldstein's often clunky script would indicate on the surface.

The show centers on the unlikely relationship between successful novelist Mark (Michael Booth) and the trick that becomes his boyfriend, Todd (David Darrow). Both of the characters are haunted by their past: Mark lost his partner years before in an accident; Todd spent his youth in foster homes and has been selling himself for money since he was a young teenager.

The relationship is rocky from the start, and it only gets worse as Mark's high-class friends learn of it, embodied by snobbish editor Edith (Michelle O'Neill) and her creepy husband-to-be Thomas (Bill McCallum).

Haunted by the past and dysfunctional in the present, the couple seems fated for failure. That doesn't help the dramatic momentum all that much, neither does the rather staid structure or approach to material that should have some more heat.

Still, Booth and Darrow make for an intriguing couple, constantly circling around the tender parts of their characters and letting out just enough to keep the intrigue building through the piece. They (along with director Joe Dowling) dredge a lot more out of the characters than is apparent from the script.

McCallum only has one scene, but it is a doozy, as his British banker lets down his reserve and lets us see the cauldron of anger, fear, and dominance inside his heart. It's the one real moment of danger in the play; one that hints at a darker, richer direction Goldstein's piece could have taken.


Skiing on Broken Glass
Through Nov. 17
Guthrie Theater
818 S. Second St., Minneapolis
For tickets and more information, call 612.377.2224 or visit online.
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Guthrie Theater

818 S. 2nd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55415


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