Heisenberg on Broadway Review - Two strangers at a train station

In a crowded London train station, Claire, (Mary-Louise Parker), a 40-something complex yet simple woman sees Alex, (Denis Arndt), a 75-year-old butcher, who is minding his own business.  Claire kisses him on the neck and thus, the story begins.

This is not your typical love story.  It’s about two people who have issues, like most of us.  Mary Louise Parker is excellent, as usual, as Clair.  She’s odd and at first we can’t figure out what her ‘game’ is; we only know that she never stops talking about every subject that comes to mind and creates a ‘life’ for herself that at first is believable then implausible.  In a moments’ time, she tells Alex she’s married and has lost her husband, the love of her life, from a sudden heart attack.  Unfortunately, as Claire plays it, she has no children.  Until that point, he has no interest or intent to even converse with Claire.

The audience is sad for her loss, until she tells Alex she never married and, by the way, has a 19-year old son living somewhere in New Jersey and she hasn’t seen him in two years.  One moment, she’s a waitress in a local diner but then she works as a secretary in a school.

The exchange between Claire and Alex is not actually about truth or lies, it’s about two strangers, who couldn’t be more unalike, becoming meshed in each other’s world.  It takes a bit before we find out that Alex is a butcher; he hesitates, almost feeling compelled to answer Claire’s unusual and very intimate questions.    Denis Arndt does a beautiful job of being ‘himself’ but slowly becoming someone he may have longed to be all along.

“You were 33 when I was born,” she tells Alex.  That difference in age becomes less of a shock as more intimate discussions become the norm.  Alex has never married and Claire manages to get him to speak about his life as he approaches the time when he is doing the same thing every day, like clockwork.  He feels he has lived his life.  Then Claire slowly begins to change not only her circumstances, but his.

This non-typical love story plays out on stage with the audiences on both sides of the stage, almost as if it’s theater-in-the-round.  There are 2 tables, 2 chairs, 2 people and a heck of a storyline.

Parker draws you in immediately to her personality as it changes from moment-to-moment.  Arndt is scared, intimidated, overwhelmed and speechless when faced with some of the out-of-this world questions Parker poses. But it’s the peeling away at these outer layers that bring these 2 unlikely souls together, at last.  It’s not a matter of whether they marry or even get engaged, it’s more about 2 souls blending together with honesty and respect.

Written by Simon Stephens, directed by Mark Brokaw, set designer, Mark Wendland, costume designer, Michael Kass, lighting designer, Austin R. Smith, music & dound Designer, David Van Tiegham

Opening Night:  October 13, 2016

Closing:  December 11, 2016  

This show runs aprox. 90 minutes, with no intermission

Heisenberg is playing at the Manhattan Theatre club -  Samuel J. Friedman Theatre / 261 West 47th Street, New York

For more information, visit: Manhattan theatre club season


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