Noel Coward's Brief Encounter well worth the trip


Brief Encounter, Noel Coward's heartbreaking tale of an affair between two married people, is playing at the Guthrie -- and if you haven't seen it yet, we highly recommend it.

The play, which tells the sad tale of housewife Laura and doctor Alec in forbidden, impossible love, has gotten rave reviews throughout the city. Informed by Coward's experience of being gay when society shunned homosexuality, the play is full of the longing and sadness of unsatisfied desire.

The Guthrie has brought in a touring English company, Kneehigh Theatre, so the accents are real. Hannah Yelland and Milo Twomey are wonderful as the principal actors; Yelland's portrayal is particularly full of delicate nuance. But the supporting characters are also excellent -- they bring a welcome sense of joy to a stage that is at times heavy with despair.

One of the most appealing aspects of the show is its use of multi-media: characters appear on a flat, black-and-white movie screen and interact with the actors whose bodies are on stage in flesh and blood. It's a very cool effect, and one I won't spoil with further description.

The show is playing through April 3. Tickets and showtimes are available on the Guthrie's website.