Constellations ★★★★★ Vaudeville Theatre | Jun 18 - Sep 12, 2021


Constellations by Nick Payne receives a sparkling revival in Michael Longhurst's insightful production. The stunning set of magical white balloons by Tom Scutt manages to be both celebratory and sad – not unlike the play itself. Taking quantum multiverse theory as its basis, the play loops backwards and forwards with the short scenes being repeated with slight changes which contradict each other – frequently producing hilarious results. The split-second timing is jaw-dropping. Not everything, however, is frivolous and the tragic elements hit home all the harder when juxtaposed with the comedy. This revival of the two-handed play casts four pairs of actors differing in age and style, and there is now a gay option which fits the writing perfectly. This is much more than simply gender-blind casting, this is an inspired readjustment of an already highly effective script and reinforces the theme of the piece. Doubtless, all the pairings are excellent, but we were lucky enough to see Russell Tovey and Omari Douglas who give us a very special interpretation which was unforeseen when the play was first produced in 2012. Douglas is terrific as the young cosmic scientist who can be much more than just delightfully camp; this balances beautifully with Tovey's charmingly goofy, yet sexy, apiarist. They have terrific chemistry. Multiverse, with its 'what if' options, has never been better explored than in this clever, supremely intelligent work. The acting is sublime and you could – and thanks to the format often do – watch it again and again. Be sure to catch this wonderful production while you can!

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Marc Brenner.

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