Constellations [REVIEW]


In what universe would a cosmologist get it together with a bee-keeper? How about the universe in which the bee-keeper blows off the cosmologist? And in exactly which universe would they get back together? According to Nick Payne, the writer of Constellations, in quite a few of the many parallel universes that are out there.

If you are a sci-fi fan, then you will be aware of the concept of parallel universes, where another you and another me exist, but have made slightly different choices. (Maybe you wrote this review and I am reading it.) Maybe I would not have lived with a bunch of Trekkies and philosophy students that discussed such possibilities ad nauseam. The possibilities are endless, as are the number of universes, and this play take us through a series of them following the lives of Roland (Rafe Spall) and Marianne (Sally Hawkins).

This can be a tough play to follow and must be an absolute nightmare for the actors – one 70 minute act that is effectively 100 acts, many of which repeat with some slight variations. But I have a lot of faith in the Royal Court (who first staged this); the last three transfers I have seen, Jerusalem, POSH and Jumpy, have all had something about them, and this play is no exception.

Director Michael Longhurst skilfully weaves the story of Roland and Marianne and their multiple existences, and both actors perform their roles admirably. The set is quite bare except for a large number of balloons (I guess these represent the cosmos), and this reinforces attention on the two principles.

It’s a good play and worth seeing, but bear in mind the subject matter, and that it is only 70 minutes long.

Second Degree was given a press ticket and program but paid for his own Maltesers.