09 October 2017 (released)
Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle boasts an impressive line-up. Award-winning writer Simon Stephens, director Marianne Elliott (both previous collaborators on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), highly acclaimed composer Nils Frahm, and BAFTA Television winning actress Anne-Marie Duff.
And the play doesn’t fail to impress either. Most notably in its pairings of the visual and sound. Bunny Christie’s clean, meditative set design and Paule Constable’s creative lighting alongside Nils Frahm's beautifully immersive musical interludes elicit feelings of the unknown. This, with movement director Steven Hoggett's theatrical transitions contrasts with the ‘normality’ of the characters and script, bridging the science of the principle and ‘real life’.
The uncertainty principle is a theory in physics that states that it is impossible to know, simultaneously, the exact position and momentum of a particle. The more exactly the position is determined, the less known the momentum, and vice-versa. Stephens explores this idea in a highly simplistic set up - a man and a woman meet at a train station. Although initially taken aback by American Georgie's (Anne-Marie Duff at her emotional finest) outlandish and talkative nature, the English Butcher (Kenneth Cranham - in a layered and often-times moving performance) is intrigued and flattered by her attention, and an unlikely relationship forms. Despite different ages / stages in life, solace is found in one another - although perhaps not in the traditional sense.
The powerful chemistry between these two actors, giving off an ease which lends itself to both humour and very human desperation and sadness, is another a highlight of the show. However, the 80-minute piece can feel at times to drag - the script occasionally losing momentum, oddly cliched and predictable. Despite this, the play succeeds in its exploration of how it is that we connect, and, with the aid of excellent music and design, leaves you with something meaningful to process.
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