Heartbreak House
Closed 2h 20m
Heartbreak House
72

Heartbreak House NYC Reviews and Tickets

72%
(79 Reviews)
Positive
66%
Mixed
29%
Negative
5%
Members say
Great acting, Entertaining, Slow, Disappointing, Ambitious

About the Show

In this new adaptation of Shaw’s play, it’s the first days of the London Blitz. With the performance interrupted, the cast and audience have joined together to seek shelter in the theatre’s basement. 

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Member Reviews (79)

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866 Reviews | 898 Followers
75
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Too long, Entertaining

See it if Great acting all around, though the 3 women steal the show. :-) First 2 hours are fun, funny, smart and fast-paced​.

Don't see it if The last 40 min (3rd act?) did stretch it too long and was very slow. Read more

841 Reviews | 1006 Followers
75
Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You want to see some great performances by an amazing cast. Great female characters.

Don't see it if You aren't in the mood for a 2hr45min show. It's too long and ends up meandering in the last 30-40min.

928 Reviews | 379 Followers
79
Long, Funny, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent

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.

703 Reviews | 213 Followers
65
Dated, Indulgent, Slow, Funny, Cliched

See it if Long rambling satire of British gentlemen & women frittering their time while the threat of war approaches. Humorous character acting.

Don't see it if Dated main theme of young woman deciding whether to marry old guy for money. Silly characters drawn out for 2 1/2 hrs. Not much substance.

677 Reviews | 150 Followers
86
Ambitious, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting

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

687 Reviews | 113 Followers
77
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining, Indulgent

See it if Strong ensemble led by Ziemba, Hewett & Thompson hone Shaw's message of capitalistic nihilism to a fine edge despite unfocused direction

Don't see it if Staller's framing devise seems clever but ultimately proves obtrusive Cluttered set hinders movement yet Shaw's prose still shines radiantly

567 Reviews | 147 Followers
78
Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining, Slow

See it if Shavian political serio-comedy. Very talented cast especially Fraser,(like a Glynis Johns), relish their dialogue.

Don't see it if Slow political 2.5hr. Shaw in cramped Lion theatre with very little staging requires commitment from audience. But, gee, that ensemble.

411 Reviews | 72 Followers
78
Great writing, Relevant for usa today, Warns of businessman’s greed, deceit, corruption, Script restored to pre-ww1 text, Ominously performed in a ww2 bomb shelter

See it if Prescient Shaw warns world of complacency regarding economic and political corruption, exploitation, fraud and consequences of inaction.

Don't see it if You don’t like Shaw’s wordy, idea-filled plays that drag on with soapbox monologues.

Critic Reviews (25)

The New York Times
September 9th, 2018

“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.”
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Time Out New York
September 20th, 2018

“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.”
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The Wall Street Journal
September 11th, 2018

“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."
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Theatermania
September 9th, 2018

“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.”
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Lighting & Sound America
September 11th, 2018

“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.”
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New York Stage Review
September 9th, 2018

“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.”
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Theater News Online
September 10th, 2018

"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."
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TheaterScene.net
September 14th, 2018

"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."
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