See it if you enjoy seeing a bit of a twist on a classic play by GB Shaw. Lovely acting.
Don't see it if you don't enjoy long shows (a bit more trimming in the second act would have been welcome). Want your classic theater without twists.
See it if you're a fan of Shaw, like great ensemble action, enjoy an unusual but legitimate setting, like intelligent comedies
Don't see it if you're not a fan of Shaw's, don't like Shaw abridged or set in an unexpected location, don't need reminders of the Blitz or World War I
See it if Don’t let the title scare you! More heart -lift than heart-ache. Teriffic cast of real pros put on one of Shaw’s funniest plays during the
Don't see it if Play runs well over two hours with one ten-minute intermission. British accents. Read more
See it if you enjoy G. B. Shaw's humor and well acted, relevant theater.
Don't see it if you find long, wordy plays tedious even though the content is entertaining and intelligent.
See it if Intriguing wartime drama with great actors appeals
Don't see it if You only like Bway musicals
See it if you love Shaw and are happy to seek out alternative presentations of even his lesser-known (less perfect) plays
Don't see it if you cannot see past wavering accents and occasional soapboxing to a sprawling larger theme: we're made whole by our joyful imperfections Read more
See it if You’re a fan of Shaw. These are some top notch actors-you don’t get the opportunity to see a play like this very often. Great direction.
Don't see it if You don’t like madcap metaphorical adventures down the rabbit hole of politics and human rights and just about every other hot topic.
See it if you enjoy Shaw- both his comedy and his wordiness. Actors were individually great but hasn't gelled as a company when I saw it in previews.
Don't see it if You prefer minimalist scripts and acting. The set and costumes were gorgeous and elaborate, just like the play.
“A crisp and fizzy comic wake-up call to a society drifting toward self-destruction...The play’s potential for resonance in our own time is enormous...Yet Staller’s unfocused production never answers the fundamental question for any revival: Why now? Even with such a tantalizingly talented cast, the play feels disrupted and undermined by its framing device...The portrayals feel like they come from different dramatic worlds.”
“Shaw’s play is a hellishly difficult combination of portentousness and froth...Staller desperately wants us to have a good time; he adds sing-alongs and gives us the divinely silly Hiller...But the ensemble...simply can’t locate the play’s comic spark...No one can agree on how big to play, how goofy to be, how broadly to wink. This proves fatal for both the farce and the polemic. In a Shaw play, if the match doesn’t light, the gunpowder won’t burn.”
“Staller has taken on ‘Heartbreak House’, one of Shaw’s most challenging plays, with altogether extraordinary results...This version is a conceptual staging, one whose ingenious framing device intensifies the effect of Shaw’s text instead of smothering it...A high-quality ensemble cast...Staller’s direction that gives wing to the show...A uniquely satisfying production of this great but hard-to-stage play...One of the two finest Shaw stagings of the past decade. Do not miss it."
“This WW II scenario is not what Shaw had in mind for his trenchant antiwar comedy...Yet Staller has cannily, though not always successfully, adapted the play to make it what Shaw may have first conceived it as...Staller's take sometimes sacrifices the play's comical moments for the sake of this frame-story innovation, but it does make a good case for 'Heartbreak House' being a cautionary tale for our own times...Despite these fine performances, Staller's direction stumbles at times.”
“Staller's staging has a twinkle in its eye so pronounced that the play's darker intentions are thoroughly erased...The chief delight of this production is Fraser...Everyone else -- all of them usually highly capable -- fall somewhere in the middle...The rest of the production is solid...The idea of staging ‘Heartbreak House’ in wartime London must have seemed incendiary, but the effort has backfired: The framing device adds nothing, and the direction is distressingly staid.”
“A batty and ultimately disappointing production...Not anchored to a consistent acting style, the play’s metaphoric voyage as a ship of English fools sailing towards the rocks of world war unfortunately gets lost in the fog of Staller’s busy, somewhat slapdash, production. It would have been better for everyone, especially the audience, had Staller dropped that half-baked, time-wasting, 1940 frame and focused instead upon staging the play and its actors with greater judgment.”
"Ultimately, the play remains the thing here - and Shaw's extraordinary ability to share his philosophical viewpoints on England's class system, the dangers of capitalism, and the difference in how men and women view the world while still crafting a deeply involving story about the foibles and virtues of an eccentric family comes through as loud as any wartime bomb."
"The problem is that none of this has anything to do with Shaw's play which is a prediction of the coming dissolution of leisured, upper-class society. And Staller's unfocused production which permits the actors to use many different styles does not help. The version being used is reported to be the first production of Shaw's original 1914 text which was later revised for the play's world premiere in 1920. It is most noticeably different in the third act giving the play an alternate ending."