Constellations – Trafalgar Studios

94160-2Constellations first came to the West End as part of a Royal Court season at the Duke of Yorks Theatre in 2012 (following shows Posh and Jumpy) starring Sally Hawkins and Rafe Spall. This year it has a stint on Broadway with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson and is now wrapping up a UK Tour with a three week run at London’s Trafalgar Studios starring Louise Bradley and Joe Armstrong.

Nick Paynes 70 minute play examines the realms of possibility between one couple and how their lives could have been very different if the planets were differently aligned. From first meeting over a conversation about whether you can lick your own elbow, we follow this couple through their relationship of ups and downs, affairs, illnesses and examine what could have happened if the shoe was on the other foot. It possibly isn’t the easiest of plays to follow as it jolts backwards and forwards through time but there is an honesty and vulnerability that it beautiful to watch.

Having see the original production of Constellations and also the recent Broadway version, I have to say this felt like the best version of the three. The Trafalgar Studios is the perfect size for a show of this kind and the actors do a brilliant job here. Louise Brealey approaches the role with sensitivity and warmth. She flits into erratic mode wonderfully whilst still maintaining her other qualities. Joe Armstrong is the typical Londoner, boy next door type. With puppy dog eyes and a husky voice that would make any woman (or man) want to be whisked away in the throws of passion.

The beautifully simple set design by Tom Scutt has hundreds of balloons floating from the ceiling and around the stage, which as the drama unfolds, start to drop as their lives collapse around them.A nice touch is the stage having hexagonal shapes on the floor, giving a honeycomb design (as Roland is a Beekeeper).

Constellations is a beautiful play which deserves all the attention and success it has been getting. I am sure this won’t be the last we see of it.

Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Johan Persson

Constellations is playing at the Trafalgar Studios until 1 August 2015. Click here for tickets