Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast

HeisenbergFlorida Studio Theatre
William S. Oser | Season Schedule

Also see Bill's review of Cool Yule

Rachel Moulton and George Tynan Crowley
Photo by Matthew Holler
Florida Studio Theatre's second winter mainstage production is Simon Stephens' Heisenberg. The play follows one of the standard formats for two-character scripts: Two people meet cute, in this instance a young woman places a kiss on the neck of an older man in a train station. They turn out to be mismatched, the age difference plus she is quirky and he is decidedly stable. They interact repeatedly over a period of time until they bend to each other and become friends, maybe lovers. End of play.

I tend not to be a huge fan of this genre unless the playwright manages to reveal some universal truth through his characters, making the story about more than just these two characters, as in the brilliant Sex With Strangers seen last year at American Stage. Heisenberg does not rise to the level of being about anything more than its two characters, and it left me flat. Even though the play is being presented in the smaller Keating Theatre, I feel that it doesn't ideally fill the space; perhaps it might be more effective in a 100-seat black box theater, although the original did transfer to Broadway transfer from Manhattan Theatre Club, running 93 performances, including previews.

The title comes from physicist Werner Heisenberg and his uncertainty principal, and while I wish I could give a brief, concise explanation of said theory, even after reading several Wikipedia articles, I have not the slightest clue of what it is about.

Perhaps higher-powered acting might give Heisenberg more oomph. The Manhattan Theatre Club production starred Mary Louise Parker in the role of Georgie Burns. Florida Studio Theatre's cast has great chemistry. Both Rachel Moulton as Georgie and George Tynan Crowley as Alex Priest have extensive FST credits. Director Kate Alexander draws fine performances from both. Crowley has great Irish charm about his Alex, set in his ways but not so much that Georgie can't add a few new wrinkles to his life. Moulton plays Georgie on the young side, but her inner warmth is all over this character.

The production is very simple, but from photographs I can surmise that the New York version was equally simple. Scenic design by David Arsenault, costume design by Jeff Come, and lighting design by Rob Perry all present a unified whole. Sound design is by Thom Karp and includes both actors being mic'd, unusual for this company and especially this venue. Greg London is credited for choreography. The production serves the artistic vision of the director and is effective. It is the play itself which doesn't excite me.

Florida Studio Theatre's Heisenberg, through March 4, 2017, at the Keating Theater 1241 N. Palm Avenue, Sarasota FL. For tickets and performance information, please call the box office at 941-366-9000 or visit

Georgie Burns: Rachel Moulton*
Alex Priest: George Tynan Crowley*
*=Member of Actors' Equity Association

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