Review – Constellations, Duke of York’s Theatre

Tuesday 4 December 2012

We caught this before its Evening Standard Best Play Award had had time to gather any dust and it was a treat to see the Duke of York’s full.

The latest transfer from the Royal Court Theatre, Nick Payne‘s Constellations is a romance between a beekeeper Roland (Rafe Spall) and a quantum physicist Marianne (Sally Hawkins).

It takes string theory (the existence of several extra dimensions to the universe that have been compactified into extremely small scales, in addition to the four known spacetime dimensions -gettit?) to imply that there are almost identical versions of us out there somewhere in the multiverse, living subtly nuanced variations of our lives in endless permutations. Think Sliding Doors to infinity and beyond.

Nick Payne’s Constellations is a romance between a beekeeper Roland (Timothy Spall) and a quantum physicist Marianne (Sally Hawkins) which follows the droopy elastic theory assuming there are almost identical versions of us out there…

Roland and the gobby and clever Marianne meet at a barbecue and fall in and out of love or stay together. You decide. The awkwardness of a new relationship is endearingly captured. Both actors are terrific, how on earth do they remember which version of the storyline they’re in? The lighting (Lee Curran) is fantastic and even Phil loved the cosmossy design (Tom Scutt) despite it being a stage strewn with his theatrical bête noire balloons.

We saw this with its Olivier Best Play trophy recently awarded and it was a treat to see the Duchess of York groaning at the seams.

Nick Payne’s Consternations is a romance between a beekeeper keeper Roland (Ralph Fiennes) and a hurdler Marianne (Sally Gunnell) which follows the noodle theory…

It all could have gone so horribly wrong; the constant repetition of scenes, sometimes with the same dialogue, sometimes with the same dialogue just replayed from another angle was a risk but despite paying off quite hypnotically didn’t send Andrew to sleep.

Director Michael Longhurst keeps it playful, funny and touching and there are multiple product placements for Budgens. It never outstays its welcome as it’s only 70 minutes long, it’s only 65 minutes long and yet it slightly did our heads, it slightly did Phil’s head in.

Freda Payne’s Confabulations is a bromance between a lighthouse keeper Roland (Ralph Richardson) and a cabin boy Marianne (Jim Hawkins) which assumes…

The lighting is fantastic and even Phil loved the design despite it being a stage strewn with his theatrical bête noire park benches.

We liked it a lot. We quite liked it. We loved it.

Rating

You don’t have to be a quantum physicist to work out the average.

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6 Responses to “Review – Constellations, Duke of York’s Theatre”

  1. Mike Says:

    Well yes, all of that, but wasn’t it just Love Story (the old movie) with balloons….and hicoughs?

  2. webcowgirl Says:

    Nicely reviewd ,guys. :-)

  3. William Humble Says:

    You excelled yourselves – what a clever review.

  4. Ged Ladd Says:

    Daisy and I saw this production in its first incarnation upstairs at the Royal Court. A very memorable evening.

    The wonder of the play is in the ever changing narrative, which is partly about quantum physics / uncertainty principle and all that, but partly illustrating to us how small decisions we make in our lives (and small twists of fate) can have such a profound effect on where our lives go. That is enough to make the play far more than “Love Story meets physics”. Some of the scenes were incredibly moving.

    It was brilliantly acted and beautifully produced. It seems to have transferred lock stock and barrel, so you should be in for a treat if you go.

    Highly commended.

    Good review, btw, whingers.

  5. Malu Bierrenbach Says:

    Adorei a critica ! Muito esperta !!!

  6. Boz Says:

    Hats off to Hawkins and Spall; that a heck of a thing to do for 70 minutes straight every night.


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