Review by Nola Bartolo
What if? That is the question.
What if there were various versions of your life? What if there were multiple universes and parallel worlds? What is the meaning of it all? So many questions. The Lane Cove Theatre Company’s production of Constellations tackles these questions. This award-winning play by British writer Nick Payne (Incognito, Wanderlust, The Art of Dying), which delighted West End and Broadway audiences – now delights locally in Sydney.
It’s a Friday night in Sydney as I entered the quaint and sweet suburban theatre that is ‘The Performance Space at St Aidan’s’. A community centre at the back of a Church. The trees are lit up and it is a mild night. There is a real sense of community as the space is set up with volunteers selling drinks including any number of herbal teas. It was a delight. For what is theatre if it is not for the community? I was already feeling warm, welcomed and a part of.
The space, a traditional black box draped with black curtains. There is nothing quite like the sensory feeling of sitting in a space like that, anticipation aplenty. The set was bare, with black drama blocks set at two different heights.
The two actors, a beekeeper (Tommy James Green) and a physicist (Caitlyn Cabrié) come on and the stage and are engaging from the first words spoken. The chemistry between the two is believable and at times electric. Both were strong in their performances. It was intimate, funny, heavy hitting and sad. Life. I mean what is it all about? The joys, the mishaps, the tragedy and the choices we make. My only negative comment would be that at some stages of the performance I couldn’t hear Caitlyn in her intimate and quiet moments. I was sitting in the front row so I am not sure that the rest of the audience could hear either. So, vocal projection can improve, and I am most certain that it will as this was opening night.
The director Isaac Downey did a wonderful job in bringing the script to life. What could have been tricky Downey made look quite easy in his adaptation. He was able to ensure that both Green and Cabrié were clear and concise with the numerous changes throughout the performance. The lighting was used well to indicate these shifts.
I felt quite privileged to have been a part of this gorgeous play as an audience member. It was very relatable as we all, without a doubt, are faced with the realities of the human experience. Get along and support local community theatre, that is, from this viewing talented. Have a bite to eat at one of the local Longueville restaurants beforehand. Leaving the theatre, I was in awe at life in general as I walked to my car with the stunning Sydney Skyline as a backdrop, I pondered the big life questions. What if? I couldn’t help but feel held by the beauty of it all. If Isaac Downey’s intention was to have the audience leave with that question in mind, he absolutely succeeded. Well done.
Image Credit: Jim Crew