In Noel Coward’s romantic drama Brief Encounter, echoing Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, respectable housewife Laura and idealistic doctor Alec meet by chance at a railway station. Although they are both married, they continue to meet every Thursday in the station cafe. Their friendship soon develops into something more emotionally fulfilling and they wrestle with the potential havoc on their lives and of those they love (until 29th Sept).
Also running is a rare Scottish revival of A Streetcar Named Desire (until 30th Sept), Tennessee Williams’ powerful portrayal of love, lust and loneliness set in 1940s New Orleans, where tensions rise between Blanche, living in her sister Stella’s tiny apartment after the loss of the family’s luxurious Southern mansion, and Stella’s husband Stanley. Streetcar premiered on Broadway in 1947, launching the career of Marlon Brando. The London production opened in 1949, directed by Laurence Olivier and featuring Vivien Leigh as Blanche. In 1951 the play was adapted for the screen starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh and won four Academy Awards.