Elizabeth McGovern, Matthew Broderick
The Starry Messenger – Starring Matthew Broderick
In the vastness of the universe, are we all just lonely souls under the same night sky? It's a big question, potentially the biggest question of all. This delightful play explores the life of Mark Williams, an astronomer at New York City’s Planetarium and a man who doesn't believe in fate... but whose life is changed forever by it. Welcome to The Starry Messenger.
This is a superb bittersweet comedy-drama, in which the Hollywood star and multiple Tony Award-winning Broadway legend Matthew Broderick shines bold and bright as the main character. And this is his West End debut, believe it or not. You'd think he'd been born on the London stage.
What's the story?
Mark Williams is a man who's lost. As a scientist he feels much more comfortable with the distant, chilly stars than he does to the job he's supposed to be doing, and even his wife Anne fades into relative insignificance compared to the heavens.
As you can imagine Mark has no time for fate, faith or divine intervention. But the universe thinks differently, and he's helpless in the face of its power. When he meets Angela, a young single mother, he thinks maybe the stars have actually aligned for the first time. But then things go catastrophically wrong, badly pear-shaped, and he finds he has to re-evaluate his life, the universe and everything.
Elizabeth McGovern from Downton Abbey and The Handmaid’s Tale stars alongside Broderick in a brave, bold dissection of what love means, what hope means, and what it means to come to a personal understanding about our place in a vast, empty universe.
Kenneth Lonergan is the Academy Award-winning writer of Manchester By The Sea and one of the best-respected writers of our times. He's responsible for the magical Gangs of New York, which he co-wrote, and for writing and directing You Can Count On Me, Margaret. He has won numerous well-deserved awards and his work has delighted and entertained many thousands, if not millions of us over the years.
Matthew Broderick played David Lightman in the Cold War thriller WarGames and Leo Bloom in the Broadway production of The Producers. He played a brilliant John Brown in Inspector Gadget and he's the winner of plenty of coveted awards including two Tony Awards, one for Best Featured Actor in a Play for Brighton Beach Memoirs and another for Best Actor in a Musical in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. He remains the youngest ever winner of a Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Play.
As the New York Times said, the play “Re-establishes Mr. Lonergan, who hasn’t had a new play on the boards since 2001, as a possessor of all the crucial parts of a good dramatist’s anatomy: a critical mind, an empathetic heart and a musical ear that hears whole lives in sentences. And Mr. Broderick delivers his finest, most affecting performance in years.”
Who is this show for?
The subject matter means children will probably not enjoy the play much. It's written for adults.
What to expect:Acting
Recommended for:Anyone (8%)
May not be to everyone’s taste but I loved this - moved at a nice pace, good jokes and silence when needed, really liked the sets too
Reviewed on 23 June 2019 by Tony, Solihull, United Kingdom
This was a well delivered mix of some thought provoking messages with interspersed light hearted lines in the right places. The performances by these seasoned actors kept me engaged. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
Reviewed on 22 June 2019 by Jeffrey, Santee, United States Of America
Overall I enjoyed the play and would recommend it to others particular those theatregoers that enjoy seeing something to think about rather than just “entertained”. The main character was very complex as were the other two supporting characters and the play left me with plenty of food for thought about relationships and the workings of the universe. On the negative side I felt the play was a little too long and very much a slowburner. A bit too ponderous. Perhaps a little more light relief could have been injected via the students who were well played,with humour and easy to relate too.
Reviewed on 14 June 2019 by Shelley, London, United Kingdom
Not for lovers of slapstick, but a slow-burning, very dry comedy which plays to Broderick’s finely tuned skills, rich acting throughout, and a searing drama that sneaks up on you, relieving the comedy while exploring the universe through the intimate unfolding of one man’s mid-life crisis. Superb theater.
Reviewed on 13 June 2019 by Barry, New York, United States Of America
Reviewed on 12 June 2019 by Carolina, AlcobaÇa, Portugal
Reviewed on 11 June 2019 by Linda, King's Lynn, United Kingdom
See something else - waste three hours at home or doing something else- v disappointed
Reviewed on 08 June 2019 by Nadine, London, United Kingdom
If you like to be challenged by theatre and are willing to let the piece slowly unfurl you will love this magnificent play by Kenneth Lonergan
Reviewed on 08 June 2019 by Jenny, London, United Kingdom
We should have left before the second half the show was terrible
Reviewed on 07 June 2019 by Lynne, Anstead, Australia
A meandering script with lots of threads that were never pulled together. There was no flow and the dialogue was often awkward and unnatural.
Reviewed on 03 June 2019 by John, Mamer, Luxembourg
a real disappointment, sat through the show but others in our row of seats did not return after the break. Lack of human chemistry among actors.
Reviewed on 01 June 2019 by Monique, Farnborough, United Kingdom
Mark is an astronomer having a mid-life crisis, wry and downbeat, mild-mannered and put-upon. A young student walks into his life and the inevitable happens. That would all be very pedestrian but Kenneth Lonergan brings emotional depth to everything he touches and Mark's predicament really resonates. He's an unlikely Lothario and raises the eyebrows of colleagues in the faculty, as well as testing the sympathy of the audience, especially when wife Ann (Elizabeth McGovern) is hardly a ballbuster. It doesn't end exactly happily (and there is a shocking tragedy in Act 2), but at least on a note of redemption. Terrific performances all round and quite a few laughs amid the sadness.
Reviewed on 31 May 2019 by Andrew, London, United Kingdom
Wonderful turn by Matthew Broderick (and the entire cast) in this complex and moving look at how we search for and try to make meaning in our lives at a time when both religion and science offer little or no solace for our fears about death and existence. Often quite funny, the laughs are generated by the absurdity of life itself.
Reviewed on 27 May 2019 by Jennifer, Oakland, United States Of America
A story of ordinary lives beautifully interpreted by a cast of great actors.
Reviewed on 25 May 2019 by Elena, Cisliano, Italy
I purhased these tickets based on the well know actors in the show but was very disappointed. I found the story line boring, the acting very wooden and it seemed like their timing was also off on the night.
Reviewed on 20 May 2019 by Lisa, Albury, Australia
Very slow start. Second act picks up and pulls the show through.
Reviewed on 19 May 2019 by Nancy, Reston, United States Of America
Reviewed on 19 May 2019 by Wendy, London, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 18 May 2019 by Louise, Davenport, United States Of America
by Kit Benjamin | Thursday, June 6 2019, 09:31
Mark Williams (Matthew Broderick) is a disappointed, middle-aged astronomy teacher but not (as we are frequently reminded) an astronomer: In other words, he is in the gutter but looking at the stars. Or, if not in the gutter, at least in an unfulfilling marriage.Review: The Starry Messenger at Wyndham’s Theatre
by Phil Willmott | Friday, January 18 2019, 10:20
Matthew Broderick is to star opposite Elizabeth McGovern in Academy Award-winner Kenneth Lonergan's The Starry Messenger.One of Broadway’s royalty is headed to London’s West End