Theater Review: HEISENBERG (Scripps Ranch Theatre in Scripps Ranch/San Diego)

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by Milo Shapiro on January 31, 2022

in Theater-Los Angeles,Theater-Regional


If this totally non-physicist reviewer understands what he is reading — the Uncertainty Principle launched by renowned physicist Werner Heisenberg, roughly states that the more precise the position of a particle is given, the less precisely can one say what its momentum is.

If that has your head already spinning, no worries; it will have no bearing on your enjoying this play that has nothing to do with physics.  Playwright Simon Stephens’ title reference could be taken many different ways, but one interpretation could be that the more we get to know Georgie and Alex − our two central “particles” − the less certain anyone is what effect they’ll have on each other or where they will be going.  Enough about the unnecessarily obscure title; let’s talk about the story:

The play commences with American, forty-something Georgie (Denae Steele) embarrassingly apologizing to 75-year-old Irishman Alex (Charlie Riendeau) on a London train station deck. She has good reason to apologize: she just sneaked up behind him and kissed the stranger on the neck, mistaking him for her past lover. The intimacy of the moment unleashes an outpouring of emotion and story from Georgie to the empathetic Alex. Having spewed so much, the quirky (to put it politely) Georgie expects the same in return from the more-reserved Alex. Instead, she discovers her opposite, in many ways, in the man. The two provide interesting challenges to each others’ views on life and balance in their worlds.

The minimalist set serves well for allowing us to quickly jump through the six locations in the storyline. Director Charles Peters keeps the pace going, guiding Ms. Steele through Georgie’s powerful intensity and then countering her fieriness with intriguing subtler offerings by Mr. Riendeau. The dynamic between the two is like repeatedly throwing magnets at each other, never knowing if they’ll repel or attach. As such, the story easily holds us through this 75-minute one act.

This sweet, funny, and absorbing tale marks SRT’s post-COVID return and makes for an enjoyable kickoff to their 2022 season.  Welcome back!

Pictured are Denae Steele and Charlie Riendeau, photo credit is Rich Soublet Photography

Scripps Ranch Theatre
on the campus of Alliant International University
9783 Avenue of Nations, San Diego, CA 92131
Fri & Sat at 8; Sat at 2
ends on Feb 13, 2022
for tickets, call (858) 578-7728 or visit Scripps Ranch Theatre

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