Tag Archives: Wyndham’s

Review of Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle – 4 Stars

Heisenberg

Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle

Wyndham’s Theatre

Reviewed – 10th October 2017

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

“Simon Stephens’ text presents potential clichés but then turns them on their head” 

 

It started with a kiss. A seemingly random kiss but for the characters in this two-hander, it changes everything. Forever. At the outset of the play, Alex (Kenneth Cranham) and Georgie (Anne-Marie Duff) are at a certain point in their lives where they believe they control the way they live.

Alex is sitting in St Pancras station like he has so many times before. But this time an American woman comes up and kisses him on the back of the neck. Why? The following ninety minutes explores this with delicious unpredictability, enforcing the notion that we can never really know what will happen next. The show’s title references German physicist Werner Heisenberg’s scientific principle. Without fully understanding the details it seems fashioned around the reasoning that ‘vagueness’ is built into nature.

The content of the play is actually much more simple than this suggests. It is primarily a love story – at its heart the outstanding performances of Cranham and Duff as the odd couple. They are poles apart but their shared experiences of loss and need for healing make them inseparable. Initially Duff’s volatile Georgie comes across as the stronger of the two characters, yet the silent strength of Cranham’s Alex quickly subverts the pecking order. His suspicious mind refuses to let the wool be pulled over his eyes and this gives him the upper hand. He simultaneously censures Georgie’s unscrupulous motives while bowing to them – with dignity. He gives her what she wants, but only in so far as it is what he wants as well.

They both handle the dialogue expertly. Simon Stephens’ text presents potential clichés but then turns them on their head giving us a whole new way of looking at the unpredictability of relationships – and in particular Georgie’s dubious relationship with truth. The mood can turn on a knife edge and sympathies switch with alarming speed. The emotions grow and shrink within Bunny Christie’s ingenious set of shifting walls. But the strongest moments are the more reflective passages, touching on age, tenderness, loss and loneliness. Kenneth Cranham has a glorious monologue, underscored by Bach’s Sonata for Violin and Piano, where he draws a parallel between the music and life itself. He adores the music, vainly trying to understand a melody whose beauty lies in the fact it takes him completely by surprise: “the secret of the music exists in the spaces between the notes” he concludes.

At ninety minutes I was left wanting more. But this, I am sure, is intentional. We are still uncertain. Both Georgie and Alex are accepting this in the final moments of the play. It is when they realise that things are not within their control that they might get a stab at happiness before it is too late.

The reference to Heisenberg in the play’s title is, if not misleading, superfluous. This is less about Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle but more about the general principle of uncertainty inherent in nature, and in particular human nature. We all know that “reason and love keep little company nowadays” but it is an absolute delight to be reminded in such an original way with such impeccable performances from two of theatre’s masters.

 

Reviewed by Jonathan Evans

Photography by Brinkhoff Mögenburg

 

 

HEISENBERG: THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE

is at Wyndham’s Theatre until 6th January 2018

 

 

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Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill – Production Images

 

1959, in a small, intimate bar in Philadelphia, Holiday puts on a show that unbeknownst to the audience, will leave them witnesses to one of the last performances of her lifetime. Through her poignant voice and moving songs, one of the greatest jazz singers of all-time shares her loves and her losses.

 

Photography by Marc Brenner

Take a look at the brand new West End production photography of Audra McDonald in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill which has not started preview performances at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre.

The Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winning singer and actress, will be making her long awaited West End debut portraying jazz legend Billie Holiday in a performance that won her a record-setting sixth Tony Award.

This critically acclaimed production broke box office records at the Circle in the Square in New York.

Written by Lanie Robertson and directed by Lonny Price, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill recounts Holiday’s life story through the songs that made her famous, including “God Bless the Child,” “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” “Strange Fruit” and “Taint Nobody’s Biz-ness.”

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill won two Tony Awards in 2014 including ‘Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play’ for Audra McDonald, making her Broadway’s most decorated performer, winner of six Tony Awards and the first and only person to receive awards in all four acting categories.

Billie ‘Lady Day’ Holiday had what is widely considered one of the greatest jazz voices of all-time. Born Eleanora Fagan in April 1915, she rose to popularity in the 1930s and 1940s with her pioneering vocal style strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists. After a turbulent personal life and struggle with addiction, she died at the untimely age of 44. In 2000, Holiday was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 

For full details please visit the official website:

 

LadyDayWestEnd.com

 

 

 

 

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