Most plays only tell us one story: Constellations tells us many – including the ones that didn’t actually happen (but might’ve done).
In this intimate exploration of infinite possibilities, we see the same two people together at various points in space and time, meandering through a chains of events and darting down both forks in the road. By playing these scenes in groups, it’s anyone’s guess which path is the one actually taken, or where it will lead. It’s Sliding Doors multiplied out sideways: a love story through the lens of quantum mechanics that demands you to engage your brain from the very start. If you don’t think you understand quantum mehanics now, you will by the end of the play.
For a story which grows exponentially in every direction, it’s a massive task for a cast of just two. Louise Brealey and Joe Armstrong handle Nick Payne’s script admirably, both bringing great clarity to what is potentially a very confusing narrative, full of fiendishly similar scenes. While on the surface this appears to be quite repetitive, each is played as if we were watching it for the first time, with perfect mimicry and then subtle tweaks – there is is no “going through the motions”. There is a greater purpose to this as these little snapshots shuffle themselves from chaos into a devastatingly poignant sequence.
My ticket was courtesy of Bargain Theatre. To read the review in full, please click here.