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Review: Constellations (Trafalgar Studios One)

22nd July 2015 | Theatre

Review: Constellations (Trafalgar Studios One)
What could a theoretical physicist and a beekeeper possibly have in common? In Nick Payne’s two hander Constellations, your average ‘boy meets girl’ story is blown out of the water.

Payne’s story is set across a multitude of universes with the ‘multi-verse’ theory forming the backbone of the play. The play starts in one universe, where Marianne, a lecturer at Sussex University and Roland, a beekeeper, meet.

Although some of the scientific ideas are described by Marianne, Payne’s research is well incorporated into the overall plot, unlike in Tom Stoppard’s recent play ‘The Hard Problem’. Here, Payne wittily and skilfully uses the science to suggest how life is all about being in the moment and the choices we make throughout.

Some scenes are repeated with alterations, transporting the audience from one universe to another. As we watch Marianne and Roland’s behaviour change across various universes, the play makes us question how another version of ‘ourselves’ may be acting in another universe.

It would be difficult to label the play as ‘a dark comedy’ but it can feel like that at times, with rich humour battling against the physical and mental suffering endured by Marianne. Michael Longhurst’s stripped-back staging ensures that there is nowhere for the actors to hide - allowing the emotions created by the meaningful language to take centre-stage.

Louise Brealey (Sherlock) plays a brainy yet overwrought Marianne, with a need to always listen to a second voice: finding that in online forums, science or Roland. Her heart-warming performance is sprung from an authentic and truthful connection with Payne’s dialogue. Joe Armstrong (Happy Valley) is a down-to-earth Roland, with his passion for bees carving his path in life. Armstrong’s carefully chosen characteristics means that on his first appearance he seems to be the…

Review: Bend It Like Beckham - The Musical

27th June 2015 | Theatre

Review: Bend It Like Beckham - The Musical
After a box-office success when it hit the cinemas in 2002, Bend It Like Beckham appears on the London stage thirteen years later – adding to a rapidly increasing list of film to stage adaptations in the West End.

Many of the film’s creative team are also behind the musical: most notably director Gurinder Chadha who has also co-written the show’s drawn out book with Paul Mayeda Berges. Whilst the story seems to be dragged out at times (such as the repetition of football coach Joe being dismissed by Jess’s father), it manages to carry an enormous heart all the way through and in addition, pulling off plenty of laughs throughout.

Preeya Kalidas also reprises her role from the film, as the eccentric Pinky who is joined by her entourage of similarly amusing friends. In fact, the performances from the cast rise above Chadha’s sometimes flawed direction.

‘UB2’, the show’s opening number, does nothing to introduce characters clearly, ending up messy and over-crowded without packing a punch. Whole scenes are often played out on a small platform raised high above the stage - tucked away in a corner, and the need for characters to enter and exit via a small staircase leading off into the audience becomes tiresome speedily.

A rather humourless ‘Posh and Becks’ felt out of place in the overall style of the show.

The show is a game of two halves, the second of which scores many more goals than the first.

Howard Goodall (music) and Charles Hart’s (lyrics) fusion of both the British and Punjabi culture is clear in all ensemble numbers. The solos are touching, especially ‘People Like Us’ sung by Jess’ dad (wonderfully portrayed by Tony Jayawardena) which illustrates his irritation of the way that Sikhs are…

Live Blog: West End Live 2015 - Day 2

21st June 2015 | Theatre

Live Blog: West End Live 2015 - Day 2