The story follows quantum physicist Marianne and beekeeper Roland who meet at a barbecue. As scenes repeat themselves with different outcomes, the audience is offered a glimpse of the many futures this initial interaction could spark.
The three-month stint will see four exciting casts alternate with one another. But a fresh team of talent isn’t all that’s new about the show; the upcoming production diversifies the couple's relationship in terms of age, race and sexual orientation.
The longest run, from 18 June – 1 August, sees Shelia Atim (Les Blancs, Twelfth Night) and Ivanno Jeremiah (Humans) step into the shoes of Marianne and Roland. Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who) and Zoë Wannamaker (Harry Potter, My Family) will explore a mature take on the story from 23 June - 24 July. Then Omari Douglas (It’s a Sin) and Russell Tovey (Being Human, Years & Years) will embody the story as a same-sex couple, before Anna Maxwell Martin (Line of Duty) and Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids) complete the run from 6 August – 12 September.
The play first ruptured at the Royal Court theatre in 2012 in a celebrated production starring Rafe Spall and Sally Hawkins, which propelled then 29-year-old Payne to theatrical stardom. In 2015, it exploded onto Broadway, with Jake Gyllenhaal making his Broadway debut opposite Ruth Wilson, who received a Tony nomination for her performance.
Constellations returned to London later that year – now with a big and overwhelmingly positive reputation behind it – where it played at the West End’s Trafalgar Studios, starring Louise Brealey (Sherlock) and Joe Armstrong (Robin Hood, The Hollow Crown).
Director Michael Longhurst has nurtured the production through its various incarnations, and is orchestrating its upcoming West End run, too.
Culture Whisper's Lucy Brooks saw Constellations at Trafalgar Studios in 2015. Read her review below for an idea of what to expect.
Constellations, Trafalgar Studios review ★★★★★
Don't miss this second chance to see hit play Constellations in London; the show will be at the West End's Trafalgar Studios for a three week run this summer. If you missed the Constellations premiere (Royal Court 2012) chances are you didn't miss the stream of ecstatic reviews, which continued into the Broadway transfer this year.
Constellations is the play that cemented the starry status of playwright Nick Payne. Incognito and The Art of Dying, Payne's subsequent plays, have proved his talent, but it is this breakthrough work that still galvanises audiences. It broke records, making Nick Payne the youngest playwright to be awarded the prestigious Evening Standard Best Play Award.
A Constellations play summary is near impossible: the script plays upon meta-physical theories to break the rule of both traditional theatre and narratives. If this sounds intimidatingly scientific, be reassured, it is the humanity and depth of emotion that shines in Constellations. The story of endless possibilities within one relationship is as funny as it is moving and we defy you not to laugh and cry.
With spell-binding performances from Sally Hawkins and Rafe Spall in the the first London run, and then the star power of Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson in New York, there are big shoes to fill for the cast of the Constellations UK tour. Louise Brealey (Sherlock) rises to role of Ruth admirably, shifting between endearing awkwardness and steely strength. She is joined by TV actor Joe Armstrong (Robin Hood, The Hollow Crown), who play Roland with warmth and humour. Director Michael Longhurst, who has been at the helm of the production since its premiere in 2012, is directing this UK tour, and maintains hat same taut pace that impressed the critics last time Constellations was in London.
|What||Constellations, Vaudeville Theatre|
|Where||Vaudeville Theatre, 404 Strand, London, WC2R 0NH | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Charing Cross (underground)|
18 Jun 21 – 12 Sep 21, Performances times vary, run time 70 mins
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|