Review: Constellations by Nick Payne, at the Duke of York’s

Sally Hawkins as Marianne and Rafe Spall as Roland. Photo Johan Persson

Last night at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, Nick Payne’s Constellations won the award for Best Play and for anyone who saw the production earlier in the year, this was hardly a surprise: Constellations at the Royal Court Upstairs was a jewel of a play in its perfect space: 70 minutes, two actors, a space that barely holds eighty people, a play that takes the microscopic and the immense and shows them in bright, unexpected, intimate shades.

In that sense, transferring Constellations to the West End was a gamble: in two performances the Duke of York’s can fit almost as many people as they saw Constellations in its entire Royal Court run. Scale and perspective have changed, design and light have adjusted but the production has lost none of its power. If you can’t be in the middle of this world as you were at the Royal Court, you can still savour it, enjoy its beauty and dissect it.

Dissection might be the key word for describing Nick Payne’s play. Continue reading