New York | 1h 30m | Already closed


From 16 critic and 19 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Great writing, Clever, Confusing, Absorbing

About the show

What first appears to be a standard cat-and-mouse game of wit and wiles soon becomes a dance to the death. Who is the cat and who is the mouse? And who will make it out of Switzerland alive? More…

It’s 1995 in the Swiss Alps, and the reclusive crime writer Patricia Highsmith is visited by a genial young man, sent by her New York publisher to convince her to write the final installment of her best-selling Mr. Ripley series.


“With incisive dialogue, excellent staging, and outstanding performances, the two-hander is an intense thriller that is captivating audiences...There are unexpected twists and turns...The performances by Scott...and Petzold...couldn't be better. They master Murray-Smith's gripping dialogue and the sense of mystery and treachery that looms in the story. Audiences will be mesmerized by the portrayals of their complex characters...A superb play for mystery lovers." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"Saying much more about what transpires during the tense, intermission-less 90 minutes would be transgressing on Murray-Smith’s fun, fun heightened by Gmoser’s lighting and absolutely maximized by Dan Foster’s on-the-money direction...Whether attendees for whom Highsmith is an as-yet-unacquired taste, the glorious dark humor of Switzerland may be somewhat obscure. But darkly humorous the Hudson Stage Company import is, and, as such, is a great time-killer." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"Murray-Smith never lets one rest on assumptions. Red herrings pepper her writing like a well seasoned meal. Even at the end, you’ll speculate on what actually occurred. Dialogue is smart and character specific. Information is delivered, often indirectly, always with skill. This is one case when manipulation is a pleasure. Hood’s Sound Design is too gothic for my taste. The piece is sufficiently clever to support less over the top implication." Full Review


"Foster guides a stellar cast of two, Scott and Petzold, both portraying unlikeable characters only slightly leavened with ambiguity and wit. In their own ways, they exchange the selfishness driving them to use each other and keeps the audience watching and waiting for one to fall. The wall of lethal weapon collection augments the tension with a hint at a possible death...The ending is sudden and surreal, an expression of love without passion." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“The most enjoyable moments are when we see these characters' walls being broken down, and we get a sense not just of the complexity of these people, but also of the talents of these two actors...What may well be a deliberate acting choice appears completely organic, a total immersion of actor into character...For those who enjoy interpreting a play on their own, ‘Switzerland’ is certainly a show that will make you think.” Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“Anyone with a love for a rousing game of cat and mouse will find themselves well at home...’Switzerland’ brought to mind the classic mystery-comedy ‘Deathtrap’...Perhaps the time is right once again for another in this always welcome genre; one that includes cracking good humor, knowing sophistication, and twists and turns you don’t see coming.” Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

"She weaves lots of facts about the writer’s life into an entertaining scenario about the last year of her life...There is lots of snappy dialogue about writers and writing and the relationship between an author and the character he or she becomes famous for. The play does not quite build up tension appropriate to a thriller and its final twist is not completely successful, but on the whole it is an entertaining evening...If you are a fan of Highsmith's work, I expect you will enjoy yourself." Full Review


"Joanna Murray-Smith's 'Switzerland' is engrossing in an intellectual way in its discussing of writing and writers. Its revelations about the life of author Patricia Highsmith may or may not be of interest to viewers who have never read her or only know her from the many film versions of her books...However, the drama's third act shift into an entirely different play will be problematic for many audience members." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"The premise of placing Highsmith in a situation mirroring her own writing is…provocative but it falls short of conviction. What few thrills exist come mainly from Hood's scary sound effects and haunting original music, as well as…Gmoser's creepy lighting…The variations that mark the action, with the balance of power continually shifting, incorporate a bit too much literary discussion, although some of it…is interesting. There are also too many one-liners that fail to get much of a comic rise." Full Review

The Wrap

"An editor from a New York publishing house arrives in Switzerland to convince the reclusive and notoriously difficult Patricia Highsmith to write another Tom Ripley novel. That intriguing premise is the subject of Murray-Smith’s ‘Switzerland’...The slowly evolving something less than ingenious. Murray-Smith almost makes up for those deficiencies by delivering a good twist before the final curtain. Petzold handles the switch with great aplomb. Scott also is a delight to watch." Full Review

Off Off Online

“Murray-Smith’s forte is stylish dialogue, and she manages the machinery of melodrama expertly, at least for the first two acts. At the outset of Act III, though, the playwright attempts a coup de théâtre by transforming her urbane thriller into an existentialist fantasia. This clumsy switch...yields nothing but confusion...It’s wonderfully cast...Skillfully directed...Though acting technique can’t clarify what’s obscure in the script...’Switzerland’ amounts to two-thirds of a quite good play." Full Review


“‘Far from a tense, edge-of-your-seat thriller with twists that make you question everything that's come before, it is, in fact, the complete opposite: a genial, suspense-free two-hander that aims to surprise but cuts itself off at the pass every time. At least Foster's production is kind of fun, making for a reasonably diverting 80 minutes...Fortunately, the two performances are fun enough to help us overlook the textual shortcomings.” Full Review

Plays to See

“The actors and designers have contributed their talents admirably, with an evocative set and a sound track to heighten the tension appropriate to a thriller. Although adeptly directed...’Switzerland’ twists and turns upon itself and ends up in a tangle of abstruse questions about whose fantasy is at the heart of the play. While its premise to have a writer wrestle to the death with a fantasy is tantalizing, the pay-off here is less flavorsome than the real writer’s imagination.” Full Review

Time Out New York

“Murray-Smith’s ‘Switzerland’ is part of a long tradition of writers writing about writers, and with few exceptions, it’s not a good idea. The subject’s actual work almost always puts the ersatz stuff in the shade, and trying to insert a play between a writer and her creation tends to be an exercise in overreach...Fundamental slackness around both reality and motivation is why the play, designed as a clash of wills, feels like a fight with pool noodles. The limpness extends throughout.” Full Review


for a previous production "Placing Highsmith the actual person as a fictional character in a drama that closely resembles one of her own taunt thrillers is a move of sheer brilliance...Peggy J. Scott is utterly captivating as Highsmith, delivering a highly nuanced take...But there is something just a little bit cliched about the character...Director Dan Foster deftly weaves the tantalizing plot through its' many twists and turns with just the right pace, effectively gaining steam as the play progresses." Full Review

On Stage Blog

for a previous production "In every respect—not least the terrific performances by Peggy Scott and Daniel Petzold—HSC’s production is high-caliber. It’s safe to deduce Highsmith would approve, especially insofar as it succeeds in putting the audience on edge...Unfortunately, the structural design of 'Switzerland' lacks a degree of precision and so the impact of what transpires is muted." Full Review

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Nice set, Quirky

See it if One of the most intriguing, literary plays I've ever seen. Really made you think about the process of writing. Both actors were excellent!

Don't see it if you don't know anything about Patricia Highsmith or her book The Talented Mr. Ripley. If you don't and you plan to go, read up on it.

Also I'm really enjoying the plays at 59E59 this year. Well-written and sur... Read more Read less

Riveting, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Clever

See it if You enjoy psychological ,dramedy with sharp dialogue. You're a fan of Patricia Highsmith's work & enjoy satiric view of NY's literary world

Don't see it if You dislike two character, "small" plays, that are steeped in literary references. You're not familiar with any of Patricia Highsmith's work

Also The two actors, Peggy J. Scott and Daniel Petzold, were superb!

Great acting, Perfect casting, Great writing, Clever plot twists, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see a thoroughly engaging 2 handler in which you realize the story being presented isn’t the whole story. Quite a thriller !!!

Don't see it if You are only wanting to sit back and let a plot wash over you ! This is not that kind of play. It will totally engage you if you let it, wow

Also A familiarity with Patricia Highsmith and most especially her very fam... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great writing, Perfect casting, Biography mixing fiction with reality

See it if Ninety minutes in the mind of Patricia Highsmith & the talented Mr Ripley give insight into the character & imagination of a mystery writer.

Don't see it if You don’t like Patricia Highsmith’s books and don’t want to see a Who is it? or Who done it? inspired by her life and writing.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if Very well done. Dry humor. Absorbing and interesting twist. Good job.

Don't see it if If looking for pure entertainment, not for you. A drama, mystery and a touch of humor.

Absorbing, Clever, Funny, Great staging, Intense

See it if you are a fan of the writer Patricia Highsmith and would like to see a play that imagines her own story.

Don't see it if you've never heard of her and don't like cat-and-mouse thrillers where you can't be sure of anything until the surprise ending!

It isn’t what you know that can scare you., Great acting, Great writing, Must see

See it if What seems to be a straight-forward plot is anything but. Elegant script and outstanding performances make this a show not to be missed.

Don't see it if You’ve never heard of Patricia Highsmith or Tom Ripley. It helps if you have but won’t hurt if you haven’t.

Also A woman sits at a typewritter in a beautiful home in Switzerland. She ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Riveting, Intense

See it if Non stop mind play, intelligent, absorbing, pay attention at all times writing; some insight into the mind of a great writer & complex mind.

Don't see it if you do not like tension or psychological thrillers; it takes time and lots of talk for the story to unfold.

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Slow

See it if you are a Highsmith fan and want to see a glimpse into her later life (real and imagined).You enjoy snappy dialogue in a feisty female role

Don't see it if you don't know who Patricia Highsmith is, don't know her famous characters, and don't care. (Play will be somewhat meaningless to you)

Absorbing, Clever, Edgy, Great acting, Confusing

See it if You like psychological two-handlers that keeps you guessing to the end.

Don't see it if You don’t care for psychological thrillers that are talky and convoluted.

Also I liked the idea of fiction based on an actual famous mystery writer. ... Read more Read less

Clever, Intelligent, Quirky, Slow, Disappointing

See it if you are a fan of Patricia Highsmith's oeuvre, particularly the Ripliad and want to see a work that captures many aspects of her.

Don't see it if you don't like talky plays, don't know Highsmith's novels or the novels based on them, or are expecting a thriller more than a dark comedy.

Also The development that takes place about 3/4 of the way through the play... Read more Read less

Confusing, Ambitious, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You like Patricia Highsmith, Tom Ripley, or 2 person plays with confusing twists.

Don't see it if It's pretty confusing. After a couple of conversations about it, I think I know what happened, but those chats were needed.

Clever, Intelligent, Slow

See it if you loved The Talented Mr. Ripley and would enjoy verbal repartee between its author and her publisher representative.

Don't see it if you would find a 90 minute conversation with a couple of surprises thrown in to be boring - or if you have no familiarity with "Mr. Ripley."

Also I recalled I enjoyed The Talented Mr. Ripley quite a bit, but I benefi... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Confusing, Great acting, Disappointing, No ending

See it if You like caustic writer types talking about writing and writers; you have a vested interest in Highsmith or Ripley.

Don't see it if You want a satisfying conclusion. The play works when it's about the real-life characters; not so when it becomes a psychological thriller.

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Indulgent, Overrated

See it if you enjoy plays about writers—especially mystery writers like Patricia Highsmith—who is a character in this cat & mouse play.

Don't see it if you like a play that starts reasonably well and then takes a quick nosedive. Poor acting and staging also lead to this play's downfall.


See it if Audience seemed to like it. Laughed at what I thought were pretty lame jokes and attempts at high minded wit. Male actor was OK.

Don't see it if Dialogue cringe worthy at times.Actress not convincing but then this role is written so over the top not sure anyone could make it believabl

Also Tries for smart, profound and witty - fails miserably.

Confusing, Slow

See it if You're a huge fan of The Talented Mr. Ripley

Don't see it if You don't want to get lost in this confusing play

Disappointing, Quirky, Indulgent, Cliched, Confusing

See it if you have nothing else to do and you love the country and the playwright.

Don't see it if you love spy movies and books - will be disappointed.

During previews
Slow, Writerly, For mystery lovers, Talky, Stilted staging

See it if You love Highsmith/Ripley; it helps to be at least familiar with the writer and character.

Don't see it if A writer writing about writers talking about writing will bore you.

Also This one didn’t get good until the last 15 minutes. Ah, if only there ... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (5)