Monday, December 17, 2012

Saturday night was this little piece. Constellations. By a chap called Nick Payne. Ross' choice. And I'm very glad he did.

It's a marvellous piece of writing. Full of purpose, momentum, wit, cleverness, a healthy dose of physics (and honey) and mind-boggling, slightly socially awkward, lumpy bumpy truth. Hats off to this Nick Payne.

It's not a remarkable concept. Boy meets girl and the encounter is replayed by the actors to recreate a myriad of alternative outcomes. Boy (does he doesn't he?) is about to sleep with girl and the scene is replayed by the actors to etc etc. And so we are presented with niftily short little snapshots of their lives over the course of their time together.

What sets this apart from being a fairly familiar device is the writing (punchy, smart, insightful, bitterly honest, a little bit heart-wrenching and a little bit funny), the dollop of science and the performances. Rafe Spall and Sally Hawkins. Quite simply superb.

It's a script that would be catastrophically easy to get lost in. Bundles of almost if not always quite repetitions, quicker than the wind mood changes, leaps from now time to future time and back again without terribly much order as far as I could see and dancing on a pinhead transitions from tragedy to hilarity. It calls for actors with bravado. And these two had it in spadeloads. Along with a stunning grasp of the comedy and a letting it breathe consideration for the sad bits.

Super smart direction of course. Michael Longhurst, I salute you.

The set was a thing of beauty. It might have been a contender for my most beautiful set this year, had it not been for Matthew Bourne's Sleeping B and for Matilda a couple of nights ago. Be not surprised if balloons beautifully lit pop (up) in some future venture of either Ross or yours truly.

As we trudged, heavy hearted at the cruelty of life, out of the theatre, some man trudging behind us declared to his companion that he hadn't been particularly impressed.

Oh man, get back to the C list celebrity heavy regional pantomime where you belong.


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