Thursday, 14 February 2013

Constellations, MTC, Feb 16, 2013 ***

Written by Nick Payne
Melbourne Theatre Company
Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio
Opening night: Wednesday 13 Feb 2013 at 8pm
8 Feb to 23 March 2013 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Sat Feb 16
This is not a Herald Sun review. KH
Alison Bell & Leon Ford. Photo by Jeff Busby

In Nick Payne’s play, Constellations, we observe like voyeurs as Marianne (Alison Bell) And Roland (Leon Ford) engage in a series of short scenes that depict myriad, possible permutations in their relationship.

Marianne, a quantum physicist, meets Roland, a bee-keeper, at a friend’s barbecue and their unlikely romance unfolds in what Marianne the physicist would describe as “the multiverse” in which we all exist in parallel universes simultaneously.

Each different choice, attitude, word or approach that they make, steers the relationship in a different direction. Scenes dovetail into each other as the lovers repeats their meeting, an argument, a separation, a diagnosis and a tragic ending.

Payne’s dialogue is well observed and witty, and his scenes are entertaining and the final revelation is painful.

Bell and Ford explore, with fluidity and energy, the range of emotions of the couple and they meet the challenge of the shifting scenes and attitudes.

The style, however, looks less like a fully developed play and more like a series of acting exercises or an improvisational workshop to develop characters during a creative development for a play. The repetition simply becomes predictable.

The various parallel narratives are not fully explored and the play ends with one, long, final scene that follows only one of the multiverse threads to its grim ending. It is strangely unsatisfying watching different realities but never seeing them fulfilled.

This script won Best Play at the Evening Standard Awards in the UK, but it lacks depth and polish from my perspective.

By Kate Herbert

Winner of the 2012 Evening Standard Award for Best Play

Director- Leticia Cáceres
Set and Costume Designer -Marg Horwell
Lighting Designer- Rachel Burke
Composer -Pete Goodwin (The Sweats)
Assistant Director -Petra Kalive

 Alison Bell - Marianne
 Leon Ford - Roland

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