"Strong production of Payne's play"
by Matthew Partridge for remotegoat on 30/06/18

‘Constellations’, running at the Hen and Chickens, is a 3Hive Theatre production of Nick Payne’s play about chance, free will and love. Researcher Marianne (Bella Hornby) and beekeeper Roland (Louis Dunbavin) meet at a summer barbecue, move in together, breakup, reconcile, marry and experience tragedy. While this sounds conventional enough, the big twist is that at every stage of their relationship we see a variety of parallel universes, each with slightly - or significantly - different outcomes. So, at the initial meeting we see a scenario where Roland is already married and other where Marianne isn’t interested in him. The fact that some of the scenarios are darker than the ‘correct’ outcome, and some are more optimistic, prevents the play from becoming either excessively saccharine or mawkish.

With just two characters, and a minimalist (but elegant) set, a lot depends on the abilities of both Hornby and Dunbavin. The good news is that both are versatile actors, able to switch from anger to humility depending on the requirements of the scene. Hornby’s Marianne is quirky yet feisry while Dunbavin is sympathetic as the bumbling yet good-hearted Roland. Lasting just over an hour, this is an engaging drama that will stay with you for some time.

Constellations is directed by Sophie Drake and produced by Hannah Wisher.

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