Stage and screen star Mary-Louise Parker has returned to the New York stage in the Manhattan Theatre Club's production of "Heisenberg.” It is a new work from Simon Stephens, the writer whose adaptation of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" just won the Tony for Best Play. NY1’s Roma Torre filed the following review of "Heisenberg."
“Heisenberg” is an original play by Simon Stephens, best known for his immensely successful stage adaptation of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” Interestingly, while “Curious Incident” is a triumph of stage design and special effects, “Heisenberg” features virtually no set at all - just a couple of chairs and tables. But lest you think it’s a lesser work, I’m thrilled to report this spare two-hander is one of the most emotionally complex and fulfilling productions ever to grace a New York stage.
Mary-Louise Parker is giving what may be the performance of her life as Georgie, a fairly enigmatic American woman in London who turns a chance encounter into a life-changing event. Her co-star, the lesser known but equally talented Denis Arndt, plays Alex, a 75-year-old soft-spoken Irishman. She is a nervous talker with a penchant for making things up. He is a simple fellow, winding down a colorless life. How they build a relationship is just one of the lovely and entirely unpredictable pleasures of this little drama; and by the end we fall under the spell of these two bizarre misfits.
That is quite an achievement considering that neither of the characters is all that interesting; and Georgie, in particular is rather irritating.
Under director Mark Brokaw’s seeming non-direction on that virtually bare stage, the play manages an intimacy and honesty that is utterly captivating.
Arndt is splendidly subtle, projecting tenderness as a man who shifts gears unexpectedly in the most convincing fashion. In addition, watching Parker up close on that tiny Studio space, we are getting a rare chance to witness the magical alchemy that occurs when a performer and role become one.
The title “Heisenberg” has no direct reference to this play, so I’ll just guess the author is evoking the famed Heisenberg Principle of Uncertainty. As in quantum physics, so it goes in theatre. Who could predict such a small, low-budget work would end up so engrossingly rich.