Regional Reviews: Albuquerque/Santa Fe
In the 2015 play by Simon Stephenswho recently experienced great success in the West End and on Broadway with his adaption of Mark Haddon's novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Timewe get a view into the uncertain relationship between Georgie and Alex in London. Georgie is a New Jersey transplant in her early fifties, and Alex is a butcher shop owner in his mid-seventies who is originally from Ireland.
They meet in a train station in London where Alex is sitting on a bench for no reason other than liking to sit there. Neither one is coming or goingat least not in the usual sense. And they meet accidentallykind of.
Then a screwball romantic comedy launches. Sort of. On the surface, Heisenberg is an old-style romcom. A repressed older man who has all but dismissed love as improbable is going about his stuffy, repressed life in resignation if not actual acceptance. He's not happy, but he's not particularly unhappy. Suddenly, a whacky younger woman bursts into his life upending everything with the spark of love. The man feels both threatened and enticed while the womanfor all her chaosis completely in control.
Hollywood is loaded with these stories. Neil Simon made a fortune off this motif, as did many, many screenwriters and playwrights. So what's so different about Heisenberg, and is it different? Or does it only seem different because it was written by a flashy modern playwright and carries the title, Heisenberg, thus forcing the audience to give it at least a passing consideration beyond the usual April/September romance?I'd like to say Heisenberg is special because it plays on uncertainty. I mean, look at its title. But I'm not sure. If you look too closely at the play, you might not be able to see what it is. Because maybe you can't know the point of the play and see the action of the play at the same time.
All that said, it's a lovely story full of surprises. Laurie Thomas, co-founder and co-artistic chair of Fusion, has put together a flawless production. She's always good, but this production is pitch perfect. The stage (David Pearson) is well designed to move the 80-minute story through multiple settings without a break.
The actors are two of Fusion's best. Jacqueline Reid as Georgie and Gregory Wagrowski as Alex are both Equity players with vast resumes. They draw from those deep reserves and both deliver fine, fine performances. Very quickly into the play, I quit seeing the actors; my attention disappeared into the characterseven though I've seen them both many times. I've seen Reid brilliantly play a wide range of personalities, so I wasn't surprised how she completely inhabited Georgie, but Wagrowski's portrayal of Alex was new to me. I hadn't before seen this tenderness and quiet reserve in him. I've seen him explosive; I've seen him as the perfect cad. But sweet? Not before his take on Alex.
I'm not sure whether this is the best production I've seen by Fusionthere have been so many excellent productions over the yearsbut I can't remember enjoying myself as much as I did through Heisenberg. Much of it is the script, but a lot of it is Fusion.
Fusion's Heisenberg at the Cell Theatre, 700 1st. St. NW, Albuquerque NM, Thursdays through Sundays, through October 7, 2017. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances begin at 8:00 pm. There are also Saturday afternoon performances at 2:00 pm. Sunday performance as at 3:00 pm. Saturday, October 7, will be a Pay What You Wish performance at the Kimo Theatre at 7:30 pm. Saturday, October 5 is Union Night, with union members and guests receiving admission for $25. For all other performances, adults are $40. Seniors and students are $35. Those under 30 pay your age at any performance. For reservations, go to fusionabq.org or call 505-766-9412. For the KiMo performance, visit KiMotickets.com.