Constellations – at the Duke of York until Saturday 5th Jan 2013

Constellations

A great little snip of a play, where masterful writing twists a straightforward love story into an engrossing game of guesswork.

I’m so sad to have come late to this production, as I would have loved to encourage more people to go along. It’s one of my favourite formats – a two-man, no interval show. Bitesize theatre is not just an adaptation for the ADHD generation, but instead often offers really sharp, distilled and clever theatrical fodder.

Here we have the story of boy meets girl. Rafe Spall and Sally Hawkins provide the star names and also bring real depth and loveability to these two imperfect Londoners as we follow them through the ups and downs of their relationship.

The narrative twists come from the idea that there are infinite parallel universes – the audience are given various options for how each small scene progressed. This technique really allows the actors to show the tricks of their trade – small changes in stature or emphasis can change the meaning of each line as it is repeated. Having re-watched One Day only a couple of days ago (a great New Year’s Day tear fest), I couldn’t completely divorce Spall’s Rowland from the geeky Ian that he played so well, but Hawkins is thankfully far further from the Happy-Go-Lucky heroine that we all know and she seemed to be more on top of the massive script of often repetitive dialogue.

Overall, really satisfying play that leaves something for the mind to chew over after leaving – just the way I like it. Grab a ticket for the last day tomorrow if you can. Top marks.

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