Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
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 Stars:***
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
This script won Best Play
at the Evening Standard Awards in the UK, but it lacks depth and polish from my
By Kate Herbert
Winner of the
2012 Evening Standard Award for Best Play