The pleasure for this reviewer in attending the often fine productions by Nottingham New Theatre is that; one’s appreciation for the mature work of the student actors is superbly rewarded by top class acting that surpasses any expectations. Thus it is so in their current, universally brilliant, production of Nick Payne’s two hander Constellations.
The two actors have their work cut out to learn and perform this startling piece of theatre that is deeply repetitious in nature and subtly explores a love affair and the lives of a female quantum cosmologist and a male bee keeper. Sophie Walton (Marianne) and Ben Standish (Roland) are both outstandingly good and offer up their characters and multiple versions thereof with great skill and subtlety. Despite the eventual serious nature of the play there is a lot of spoken and unspoken wit in this one act piece of theatre. The smart direction by Gus Herbert makes each unfolding section or disclosure clear to the audience. The lighting and sound effects (Sam Osborne and Tom Selves ) add emotional depth to the work as a whole and the sporadic cold light effects give the serious aspects gravitas.
Sign Language Coach – Jodie McDonald deserves a special mention for her specific work on the show and the actors particular engagement with that method of communication in a latter scene is emotionally breathtaking.
Payne’s intelligent writing explores and expands into an investigation of free will and the huge role that chance plays in our lives. Constellations, starts out as a romantic comedy and slowly dips into more difficult areas surrounding dealing with the loss of communication, fatal illness and the unpredictability of life. The Nottingham New Theatre production is a supremely intelligent interpretation of Nick Payne’s truly challenging script. Very highly recommended.
Reminder that this production is at Nottingham Lakeside Arts not the Nottingham New Theatre itself.
Reviewer: Phil Lowe.