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Heisenberg

Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Quirky, Intelligent, Clever
77
Critics
73
79 reviews
Members
78
376 reviews
 

After a hit Off-Broadway run at Manhattan Theatre Club last season, Simon Stephens' play transfers to Broadway with original stars Mary-Louise Parker and Denis Arndt.

... Read more

It's just another day on a crowded London train platform. A woman named Georgie approaches a much older man named Alex, whom she's never met before, and kisses him. This surprising moment sets in motion a series of events which will change both Georgie and Alex forever. Written by Tony-winning playwright Simon Stephens, best known for 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,'

 


Cast & Creatives (12)



Reviews (455)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
73
Avg Score

90
The New York Times

"The sexiest couple on a New York stage just now...I groaned when I heard 'Heisenberg' was traveling to Broadway. I would never have predicted that it would seem even more vibrant and emotionally charged...The production’s creative team thwarts expectations at every turn...Mr. Stephens is an uncannily subtle dramatist who never wears his depths on the surface...He makes us see how conventional story lines fail to hold their shape when unspooled within the mess of human reality." Full Review

80
BroadwayWorld

"A terrifically matched pair of actors playing a questionably matched pair of lovers...'Heisenberg' plays off the standard romantic comedy pairing of an offbeat, eccentric young woman who fascinates a straight-laced, conservative older man, though Stephens injects it with more honesty and heart than punch lines...'Heisenberg' may seem somewhat thin and whimsical on the surface, but in the hands of two fine actors it's a touching and satisfying venture." Full Review

85
Time Out New York

"If I understand the oblique title correctly, 'Heisenberg' is about how being with another person—being observed, at close range—can affect your direction...Mark Brokaw’s spare production seems even less imposing in the company's Broadway house, but that works to its advantage. Stephens’s carefully crafted 75-minute play has a sense of how little its characters matter to the universe. It makes that smallness feel liberating." Full Review

80
Theatermania

"In most narratives, the age difference alone would disqualify Georgie and Alex from potential romance. But Stephens plays by his own rules in this story...There's nothing to even vaguely suggest where we might be headed, but Parker and Arndt keep us deeply invested in each of their erratic movements...Stephens wraps the play in this metaphor of 'uncertainty'...He draws this parallel with a light enough hand that Georgie and Alex remain human beings and not mouthpieces for philosophical theory." Full Review

85
New York Magazine / Vulture

"One of last year’s best dramas has somehow become one of this year’s best comedies...The two-person cast is still terrific, with Parker doing her best stage work in years, and Arndt again a wonderful surprise to New York audiences. The script, too, is all but unaltered...Yet somehow the spin seems to have reversed direction; it’s now less like a whirlpool pulling you under than a tornado flinging you up...But with the story’s increased size come the social pleasures of large-scale theater." Full Review

90
The Huffington Post

"They are a mismatch made in dramatic heaven. Combine Parker and Arndt with the intriguingly enigmatic script and the canny direction by Mark Brokaw, and you have another winning new play...The play loses none of the dynamic impact it had on 55th Street. In fact, the spare staging actually enhances the fragmentary nature of the play, with the pair striving to maintain balance as if on a metaphysical seesaw...What joy there is in watching actors like this, in a new play like this." Full Review

10
New York Theater

"The mystery is how a team with such track records and talents–playwright Simon Stephens, director Mark Brokaw, Parker—could produce such gibberish...The problem is that, in the six short scenes of this 80-minute play, there is scarcely a line that comes out of the woman’s mouth that sounds like anything anybody would actually say, except for a character contrived for the stage...Everything about 'Heisenberg,' in short, is fake." Full Review

20
Lighting & Sound America

"The trick lies in making the woman equally lovable and bizarre, and also creating some kind of quirky chemistry between her and the man. On these grounds, 'Heisenberg' constitutes a thoroughly fizzled science experiment...This is the first romantic comedy in recent memory that leaves one actively rooting for the couple not to get together. Then again, 'Heisenberg' is neither romantic nor especially funny." Full Review

85
Theatre's Leiter Side

“The Manhattan Theatre Club’s season opener...offers rich, intelligent dialogue, crisply efficient staging, two strong actors, and a situation and characters that require swallowing with more than a single grain of salt...Most audiences will appreciate the play as an amiable, straightforward romantic dramedy between an elderly man and a younger woman, each in need of filling a well of loneliness. You do, of course, have to make allowances for dramatic license.” Full Review

15
The Wall Street Journal

"It is blush-makingly trite...The result is, not to put too fine a point on it, a blatant exercise in masculine wish fulfillment, and it doesn’t help that Ms. Parker seems to think that Georgie is an inexplicably youthful Manic Pixie Dream Girl..Mr. Stephens has aided and abetted Ms. Parker by putting eye-rollingly twee sentences in Georgie’s mouth that no actor, however talented, should be expected to utter with a straight face. He’s the culprit-in-chief—she’s merely a co-conspirator." Full Review

55
AM New York

"In all its nakedness, Brokaw’s production resembles an acting class, where only a table and chairs would be available to suggest a setting. As it happens, the play itself is just as thin as the production values...Despite its initial promise, this static two-hander quickly goes flat. Nevertheless, Parker and Arndt play off each other wonderfully. Parker is a wild bundle of energy and whimsy, while Arndt, initially the straight man to Parker’s theatrics, eventually opens up and comes to life." Full Review

45
Talkin' Broadway

"Stephens pushes the extent of unknowability pretty far, and doesn't always drop the dramatic anchor he needs to keep it on message. Georgie's behavior is a flood of overstatement that is not properly dammed in Parker's performance...Arndt, though, plays his part superbly...The evening becomes more about the artifice of its creation than the relationship it documents, and despite its intriguing, understated premise, it just isn't written well enough to function in that capacity." Full Review

20
Times Square Chronicles

"'Heisenberg' is only 80 minutes long and even that is too long with Mary-Louise Parker's horrible grating, whiny vocal tones and staging that is obstructed, no matter where you sit...This play puts the audience to sleep. The problem is I just did not believe this romance for a single second...Why this play is called 'Heisenberg' is beyond me, as there was nothing explosive or chemistry that was exciting to watch...How this play made it to Broadway is a mystery." Full Review

55
New York Daily News

"For Mary-Louise Parker die-hards, 'Heisenberg' won’t disappoint...There’s fertile material there, along with moments that are lovely and contrived in director Mark Brokaw’s spare staging. But the issue with the play remains unchanged from last year’s Off-Broadway run. Arndt lives his role. Parker plays hers. There’s a nagging difference, that’s for certain." Full Review

90
Deadline

“Mary-Louise Parker and Denis Arndt and this wonderful play have made the transition with deeper performances, even with the volume turned up a notch to accommodate the bigger space. It is, hands down, the most romantic, not to mention sexiest, show in town…The acting is stripped bare as, in the beautifully calibrated performances, Alex’s initial imperturbability yields to Georgie’s ever-more poignant persistence.” Full Review

85
CurtainUp

"With a set consisting of just a couple of tables and chairs the only glitter in 'Heisenberg' comes from the acting and that's certainly in good hands here. The part of Georgie seems written to order for Mary-Louise Parker's singular affinity for somewhat lost, almost child-like characters. Denis Arndt's Alex at first seems mostly a sounding board for Parker's Georgie...But though Parker has the showier role, Arndt quickly becomes a much more significant and endearing presence." Full Review

95
Front Mezz Junkies

"Stephens is doing what appears to be the thing he is most brilliant at: creating two characters, flawed and difficult, engaging (but sometimes disengaging) in a one-on-one dialogue that is as complex in its emotionality as it is in its simplicity of words...Parker is exceptional in making Georgie so layered that we are instantly taken. And Arndt shows a quiet yet powerful dignity in his depiction of this surprising man...Both Parker and Arndt fit perfectly into the skins of their characters." Full Review

85
Theatre Reviews Limited

"The connection that begins with a kiss is the engaging subject of Simon Stephens’s 'Heisenberg'...Under Mark Brokaw’s astute direction, Ms. Parker and Mr. Arndt tackle the rich complexities in Mr. Stephens’s script and successfully grapple with the mysteries of human connection...'Heisenberg' meets the vicissitudes of the human condition and clarity convenes on the stage of life and on the stage of the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre." Full Review

95
The Associated Press

"Simon Stephens' play is as sumptuous an experience as theater gets...Director Mark Brokaw upped the intimacy level by putting bleacher seats on much of the stage, making the venue into a poor man's theater-in-the-round. Then he let Parker and Arndt do what they do best...Stephens does nothing less than alchemy here. He captures new love and old love at the same time, hope and fear, the new world and the old." Full Review

15
The Wrap

"How much punier can plays get on Broadway? The director Mark Brokaw has found a way. It’s no longer enough that audiences are asked to sit through an evening that’s only 80 minutes sans intermission...Brokaw has reduced the performing space at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre to a narrow catwalk...Arndt is amiable and dull while Parker is hyper and unhinged...Georgie and Alex are wrong for each other, and so their happy ending emerges as false and forced." Full Review

90
Newsday

"The actors are back, even more nuanced and riveting...Director Mark Brokaw’s simple, impeccably observed production has little more than a couple of metal tables and chairs with which to burrow into fine-tuned character studies...In just a few ingratiating, ultimately devastating scenes, Stephens and his actors carve out mismatched, lonely grown-ups who are as confused and fascinated by their history and future as we are." Full Review

85
CitiTour

"Often enchanting, occasionally frustrating, and ultimately poignant two-hander...Director Mark Brokaw and scenic designer Mark Wendland have created a small central playing area on stage with the part of the audience seated behind them on the stage...It’s about as anti-spectacle as Broadway gets. And it doesn’t matter one bit!...I may not know much about physics, but I am certain that these actors’ sterling work is not to be missed." Full Review

85
Woman Around Town

"This has to be one of the most unlikely, yet deeply convincing couples you’ll ever see on stage; a romantic, highly sexual relationship that slowly evolves despite reticence, red flags and trap doors at every turn. Playwright Simon Stephens has created two marvelous characters who make what could have been yet another quirky-girl-gets-repressed-man-to-open-up scenario into something eminently richer and more satisfying...Timing is impeccable, physical acting perfection." Full Review

75
NorthJersey.com

"An improbable, if sweet, romantic fantasy. It all goes down very easily, thanks to director Mark Brokaw and, especially, the actors...Mary-Louise Parker and Denis Arndt make the opposites-attract notion involving, even if the bridging of the characters' age gap would require more elaboration to be persuasive...Georgie, an American expatriate who talks nonstop, could be taken for a psychopath in a less accomplished portrayal. But Parker makes her an ultimately fetching kook." Full Review

85
WNBC

"Stage veterans Mary-Louise Parker and Denis Arndt are the skilled interpreters for Stephens’s rich two-hander, a spot-on rumination about joy and sadness, and how either can seep into proceedings where neither may have been anticipated...It’s hard to take your eyes off Parker, who allows us to see Georgie as a multidimensional human being...As Alex, Arndt is spare and understated...Like their relationship, 'Heisenberg' is more than the sum of its parts." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
78
Avg Score

54
Disappointing, Baffling

See it if You really love Mary-Louise Parker or Denis Arndt.

Don't see it if You don't like minimalist two handers. You'd like to have characters' behavior actually make sense, or be explained.

68
Clever, Great acting, Great staging

See it if youre a fan of Mary Louise Parker. Want to see a heart warming performance of Denis Arndt showing its never too late for a broadway debut

Don't see it if you like clear cut plot explanations, want fast moving story development and more than two people plays

75
Absorbing, Great acting, Quirky

See it if quirky shows about human relationships

Don't see it if above

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Masterful

See it if You like character studies.

Don't see it if You need more actors on a stage.

80
Absorbing, Clever, Edgy

See it if I sat on the stage and was completely engaged with the two actors, who give simply phenomenal performances.

Don't see it if You want more substance than a relationship. However, it's absolutely fascinating to watch them interact and respond to each other as people

75
Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Romantic

See it if you like thought provoking storyline with great acting

Don't see it if you like fast paced flashy show with a big ensemble

80
Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if Great performances and writing.

Don't see it if you won't, it closed.

79
Absorbing, Resonant, Indulgent

See it if you want to see two strong actors in a minimalist set, relying on their skills rather than their props and scenery.

Don't see it if you feel the manic pixie hot mess character has been overplayed.

72
Overrated, Entertaining, Interesting character study

See it if Interesting but missable. The lead actor was very good. An interesting character study.

Don't see it if You want to take something away from the show. Not memorable.

70
Great acting, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if You love Mary Louise Parker. This is the perfect role for her.

Don't see it if Everyone has raved about it. You will be as disappointed as I was.

75
Ambitious, Intelligent, Great writing, Disappointing

See it if You like two handers with a lovely, beautifully acted male lead winning over an ethically compromised partner.

Don't see it if you like modulated performances. If you are averse to high strung, high pitched women characters.

Also I chose not to go to this while at MTC. I waited again but the premise... Read more Read less

85
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if You can enjoy an engrossing story with a minimalist set. If you enjoy complex interpersonal emotions and connections.

Don't see it if have trouble following a plot that is delivered only through conversation or it you don't like plays with only 2 actors.

88
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if you like in fast paced drama, if you want to see great acting or if you want to see a developing relationship between unlikely people

Don't see it if you want a spectacle or if you hate shows that are mostly about character development

90
Great acting

See it if you like terrific actors tackling a complex and unique script

Don't see it if you're looking for a big production of any kind - it's a very minimal show!

96
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Quirky, Great staging

See it if You love Mary Louise Parker. You enjoy 2-character plays where relationships develop. You like to discuss the play after you've seen it.

Don't see it if You need to understand the characters. You don't enjoy wordy plays.

77
Quirky, Disappointing, Entertaining, Well-acted

See it if you're a Mary-Louise Parker fan.She won't disappoint.It's short, intimate, but I didn't feel moved.Good set-up for the story. (seen Off-Bw).

Don't see it if you don't like 2-person plays, British settings, looking for strong emotions.

76
Great acting, Great writing, Overrated

See it if you appreciate excellent acting in an upclose, intimate and small show

Don't see it if you prefer big shows with a lot to say

Also the hype was bigger than the experience. i enjoyed it - thought it was... Read more Read less

75
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Refreshing, Great writing

See it if You are a fan of human connection & the intricacies of emotion. This play is a glimpse into a chance meeting & the journey shared together.

Don't see it if You are not ready for an intimate, two person play. MLP was hard to understand at times. Be prepared to listen closely.

90
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if you enjoy up close and personal plays; unconventional love story; brilliant and raw acting; simple and clever direction

Don't see it if do not like 90 minute, one act plays; you need a lot of action on stage

65
Great acting, Disappointing

See it if for the acting. Great performances in this two-hander, enhanced by seeing it from stage seating.

Don't see it if uncertainty bothers you. I found the ending to be very abrupt.

85
Great acting, Quirky, Romantic, Great staging

See it if you enjoy watching interesting, well-written characters. Great acting and staging.

Don't see it if you prefer large casts and/or musicals.

Also As a New Yorker, I found it a bit unbelievable that she would drop her... Read more Read less

74
Edgy, Quirky

See it if You like quirky stories, simple settings and straight dialog

Don't see it if You need excitement, big sets and action

77
Funny, Clever, Great acting

See it if you enjoy good acting and short, funny shows

Don't see it if you require great scenery

79
Indulgent, Overrated, Strong performances, Challenging, Fades fast

See it if You enjoy wired characters, intense back & forth , small casts

Don't see it if You are tired of tortured, looking for a happy feeling

Also Cast is strong in the moment - Mary Louise Parker is wired & edgy YET ... Read more Read less

87
Delightful, Great acting, Quirky, Refreshing, Great staging

See it if you want a uniquely intimate, creatively simple experience in a Broadway theatre with two top-notch performers.

Don't see it if you'll be frustrated by the fact that the play itself doesn't quite live up to the special production it's in.