Where: Duke of York’s Theatre, WC2
When: 9th November 2012 (until 5th January 2013)
Imagine a world where the alternative outcome of every choice you’ve ever made is played out across an infinite number of universes. Where there’s a version of you out there selling more records than the Beatles, and another where you’re the Queen of England, or, more mundanely, a world where you got out of bed 10 minutes later.
That’s the premise of Constellations – a Nick Payne play, directed by Michael Longhurst, which originally opened in January to rave reviews. The play uses the concept of the multiverse – an idea borrowed from quantum physics – where every subatomic event splinters the universe, with each possibility playing out simultaneously across an infinite number of parallel universes. The same idea is used to take the audience on a poignant and witty journey through one couple’s love story. The two actors (Rafe Spall and Sally Hawkins) keep the audience enthralled as they play out the consequences of each decision made, and show the enormity of tiny choices on the course we take through life.
We attended on opening night, which is always a risk – the cast are often fresh and keen to perform, however may not be as polished as later in the season. Happily, this was not the case, and the cast delivered exceptional performances. Clever lighting and staging brought the multiverse concept to life and avoided any risk of the premise appearing gimmicky. In fact, our only criticism is a slight touch of repetition in the dialogue, though this is an unavoidable consequence of the plot.
If you’re still able to get a ticket, do so quickly. It is original, clever, funny and thought provoking. The cast and crew deserve all the praise currently being lavished on them. It is impossible to see the play and not reflect on our place in the universe and the impact of each choice we, and those around us, make.