★★★★ – until 13 June 2015
Constellations, written by Nick Payne, follows the relationship between a man and a woman from the first time that they meet each other at a barbeque. The play is built on the quantum multiverse theory and goes on to visit Marianne and Roland at six different points in their relationship – exploring how certain situations, conversations and decisions can change the course of their lives together.
Constellations first premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in January 2012 and it is hard to compare it to anything that I have ever seen. The trick of the play is that the two highly talented actors remain visible on stage for the whole 70 minutes duration and they constantly replay scenes in their relationship. Their conversations and experiences take place in the multi-verse, where the past, present and future exist at the same time. It is an intimate comedy about connecting and relationships, the funny and the tragic but there is an overwhelming sense of spontaneity – Marianne and Roland inhabit a place where anything could happen.
Louise Brealey, probably best known for her role as Molly Hooper in Sherlock, is especially captivating as Marianne alongside the easy going bee-keeper Roland, played wonderfully by Joe Armstrong. Set to the beautiful backdrop of a stage filled with balloons, this play is a real showcase for Louise Brealey and Joe Armstrong’s outstanding acting skills.
Nick Payne’s script is truly magnetic as we watch Marianne and Roland’s relationship unfold before us – it’s like a powerful collision between science and nature, as we watch the quantum scientist and bee-keeper explore their relationship through a series of different moments in their lives. Each situation plays out slightly differently each time due to the decision that the characters make and as the audience we are fascinated to see which turn their story takes next.
The wonder of this production is that we do not know which way the story will play out until we do reach the final moments with Marianne and Roland. In the whole 70 minutes we have laughed and been moved by their relationship and the turns that it has taken. Ultimately, in my cosmic universe Constellations is a dazzling, thought-provoking and intelligent triumph.
Constellations is at The Lowry, Salford from 9 June 2015 until 13 June 2015