Hawkins, Spall 'bewitching' in Nick Payne's hit Constellations

Nov 23, 2012

Made in Dagenham star Sally Hawkins shines in this scintillating multiple-universe rom-com

Johan Persson

What you need to know
The Royal Court's production of Nick Payne's critically acclaimed play about love and quantum physics, Constellations, has transferred to the Duke of York Theatre in the West End.

The play explores the quantum physics concept of multiple universes as it applies to love and relationships. Marianne, an astrophysicist, and Roland, a beekeeper, meet, part, fall in and out of love, in a series of encounters across a number of parallel universes.

Sally Hawkins (Made in Dagenham) stars as Marianne and Rafe Spall (Anonymous, Hot Fuzz) stars as Roland. 

Runs until 5 January.

What the critics like
Nick Payne's short, scintillating two-hander is a rom-com that goes into other universes, says Dominic Maxwell in The Times. Sally Hawkins "changes gears with phenomenal skill", making you laugh and cry, in a "precise, unfussy production that brings out the wit and the pain with equal deftness".

Payne is a young playwright of rare virtuosity, and Constellations is his most significant achievement to date, says Henry Hitchings in the Evening Standard. Payne deals with weighty ideas with a deft and amusing touch and in a little over an hour manages to dazzle, delight and dismay. "Truly stellar."

Hawkins as the mercurial, highly verbal Marianne and Spall as the lugubrious Roland give "bewitching performances", says Lyn Gardner in The Guardian. The production is "playful and pitch-perfect". 

What they don't like
It's a testament to the charisma and skill of co-stars Hawkins and Spall that "this show pulses with authenticity and warmth despite the limited dimensions of the  characters", says Dominic Cavendish in The Daily Telegraph. Maybe, in another universe, there's a better realised version of this story that explores these ideas with more depth and daring.

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