Already closed | 2h 20m | Midtown W

Heartbreak House

From 79 member  reviews
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.  More…

To entertain the crowd, the cast performs Shaw’s most vital paean to resistance and perseverance against tyranny, 'Heartbreak House.' Inspired by actual events as lived by Hermione Gingold during the WWII’s darkest days, this new approach strives to make Shaw’s masterpiece more timely than ever.  'Heartbreak House' brings a wildly disparate group of people together in the English countryside over a September weekend to make major decisions about their future. No stone is left unturned as each character is forced to come to terms with his or her past while finding a way to move forward in the face of the coming crisis. 

2h 20m | Already closed | Theatre Row / Theatre One (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (79)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Entertaining, Slow, Disappointing, Ambitious

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.

67
Slow, Confusing, Disappointing, Fluffy, Great acting

See it if you enjoy a slow WWII silly comedy with an audience sing-a-long

Don't see it if you expect a show with some depth, want something more serious.

60
Ambitious, Dated, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you'd like a novel "play-within-a-play" by an early (unrecognizable) Shaw. Sets & acting r great but too long & plays' themes don't meet.

Don't see it if You don't like very talky long shows. Also, in the spirit of the times, it is Acted with a capital A. There is humor. Oh - and singalongs.

62
Banal, Confusing, Cliched, Dated, Disappointing

See it if You love Shaw. You like long plays with lots of characters.

Don't see it if You want a coherent plot. This was very silly. Good acting, though.

68
Not sure how i felt about this adaptation

See it if I have seen other versions of this play and this one was quirky and different which I usually like but still unsure how the production

Don't see it if If you don't like new versions of classic shows

During previews
63
Ambitious, Disappointing, Excruciating, Indulgent, Slow

See it if If you like a traditional show. Good acting.

Don't see it if Direction was aweful. Different then previous on and off Broadway performances, this one was not good to long. They changed it fromoriginal

During previews
60
Good cast. weak shaw.

See it if You’re a fan of Shaw and cast.

Don't see it if You want a good Shaw production.

During previews
62
Creaky, Dated, Very slow, Nice acting

See it if Reimagined 1920 GBS play now set in theater basement during London blitz. Appealing cast, charming beginning.with singalongs.

Don't see it if Anti-war, anti-big business points are never made clear in 2:45 hour play. Heavy British accents, lots of declaiming, fusty humor.

During previews
65
Mildly entertaining, Repetitive / much too long, In previews / still getting its feet wet, Seasoned performers / some ok acting, Farce / only a few chuckles

See it if you'd like to experience the original Shaw take on this play (it's a premiere) before he rewrote it. Seasoned performers worth seeing.

Don't see it if you expect a full-on production. Charming but a bit stagnant, doesn't really go anywhere. Felt a little flat, like Chekhov's Cherry Orchard.

Also Last night, Alison Fraser "fainted" first 10min in.... Read more Read less

During previews
69
Disappointing, Energetic, Talky, Uneven, Unnecessary framing

See it if You love Shaw, can tolerate the gas-bagginess, and will appreciate the (overly) enthusiastic acting.

Don't see it if The awkward contrast of opera buffo acting and serious political ideas will irritate you. The tone, acting, and direction are inconsistent.

Also The framing of a WW2 London bomb shelter gives this a bit of Dorothy-a... Read more Read less

During previews
60
Clever, Great writing, Slow, Ambitious, Tone problems

See it if you want to see a rarely done Shaw piece done with an interesting conceit.

Don't see it if you expect the play to be done in either a straight forward serious style OR comedy.

Also The actors all seem to be in different plays. Some being silly, some t... Read more Read less

During previews
68
Too long, Weird directorial choices, Some good acting, Needs work, Ambitious

See it if you're a fan of Shaw. Some great lines and his ideas are still relevant today. Talented cast is giving it their all.

Don't see it if 3rd preview feels like a work in progress. Framing device of play within a play makes no sense and doesn't work. Cut 20-30 minutes.

During previews
68
Great acting, Slow, Dated, Funny

See it if You're a fan of Alison Fraser or Jeff Hiller. Or you want to see a Shaw play that I doubt is performed very often.

Don't see it if You're expecting a show with a single tone throughout. There are drastic shifts and all the actors seem like they're performing in 3 plays.

During previews
63
Lame, to put it mildly

See it if You have never before seen this rarely-performed play and don't mind quite a few missed lines and confusions or a slow first act.

Don't see it if You saw a Broadway or London performance and would rather not see excellent actors do worse than they'd do with more preparation. Very long.

Also 1st act started twice; Alison Fraser, as Lady Ariadne Utterwood, said ... Read more Read less

During previews
60
Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating

See it if you are a fan of Shaw and must see his plays. Otherwise, find something else to do -- anything will be better than this confusing play.

Don't see it if want a theater experience where what is being said on stage and why makes some sense. I just could not understand what was going on or why.

During previews
65
Confusing, Dated, Disappointing, Fluffy, Excruciating

See it if You enjoy dated British fluff and can sit through it painfully. British accents are forced and hard to understand at times. Silly and annoyi

Don't see it if You have something more worthy of seeing. Hard to engage in. Confusing and “who cares”. Left at intermission. Enjoy Mint Theater better.

During previews
55
Weak direction, Great dedicated cast, Rough and flat, Framing device unnecessary

See it if you enjoy Shaw or awkwardly manipulated Shaw. One of the man members of the excellent cast - still getting those accents.

Don't see it if it's hard for you to watch a talented cast try to work awkward direction, staging and device. Concept falls away, confusing and tacked on.

Also Direction/staging felt amateur to a professional cast trying to make i... Read more Read less

During previews
69
Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Disappointing

See it if you want to see a fantastic cast in a first rate production in a play I found to be a little confusing and lacking dramatic conflict

Don't see it if you don't like Shaw or get impatient with long winded plays that seemingly fail to make a point.

During previews
66
Poor directing, Disappointing

See it if I wouldn't recommend it. The actors tried hard but couldn't compensate for poor directing. This production does not do Shaw justice.

Don't see it if you don't have patience for some amateurish choices. Full disclosure: I was there for the second performance. And I left at intermission.

Also I love Shaw, and have seen some wonderful productions of his work. Thi... Read more Read less

During previews
60
Ambitious, Slow, Misguided, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you're curious to see dedicated NY theatre favorites trying their hand at Shaw.

Don't see it if awful misinterpretation & rewrite - the director has imposed some cockamamie idea that he doesn't even carry through - disappointing mess.

During previews
69
Slow, Indulgent, Dated, Disappointing

See it if You want to see a period piece with a talented ensemble cast.

Don't see it if You can’t sit still for more than two and a half hours and follow the silly peregrinations of the story.

During previews
55
Disappointing, Ambitious, Unfocused

See it if don't mind all the tinkering with classic Shaw.

Don't see it if are looking for good direction. The poor actors are at sea and pushing to compensate for an unfocused production.

Also Some of the choices here are bizarre and there are more than a few tim... Read more Read less

During previews
55
Disappointing, Slow

See it if It was only first performance so not fair to judge but I found it to be slow and uneven. The theatre was absolutely freezing ! Uncomfortable

Don't see it if You don’t like Shaw. Wordy and VERY long!!! Neededcutting in my opinion.Really did not enjoy this despite seasoned cast.


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, ...
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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 g...
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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’...
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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 ...
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