Theatre Review: Sydney Theatre Company’s Constellations is an impeccably performed exploration into the multiverse of relationships


Boy meets girl. Then meets again. And again, and again across various states of time and space in numerous dimensions. Some meetings see a failure to launch, others bloom, with the couple going through a number of relationships across the multiverse, with only minor alterations making, in this case, literal worlds of difference. Ian Michael makes his directorial debut with Constellations, currently playing at The Wharf Theatre in Sydney.

Meeting at a mutual friend’s barbecue, Roland (Johnny Carr) and Marianne (Catherine Văn-Davies), seemed destined to cross paths. As their numerous stories intertwine, their core personas remain the same. Roland is a beekeeper, reserved and reliable, while the witty Marianne works as a Cosmologist. The character’s professions may serve as a somewhat heavy-handed device for a discussion on the building blocks of life and the universe, however they also belie two people’s opposing natures. Irish Roland – with a flawless Galway accent from Carr – and nerdy Londoner Marianne seem worlds apart, yet somehow crash together in the cosmos. 

The two actors find miraculous ways to bring the couple together through the subtext of Nick Payne’s writing, and direction from Ian Michael, which relies deeply on the vulnerabilities of the relationship(s) over the play’s premise. Even with such short scenes, many repeated with minor infractions, Carr and Van Davies manage to bring a full depth of humour and pathos to their characters and the relationship, making it entirely believable and even moving.

The first thing one notices, is the striking set design by Isabel Hudson with lighting by Benjamin Brockman. A large ring-looking portal surrounded by flowers hangs above a circular stage, which lights up in concentric circles like something out of a sci-fi film. It’s a wonderful place for the two actors to play in a timeless space, with the play’s elements coming together in perfect harmony, much like the universe.


Constellations will run until September 2 – for more information and to buy tickets head to the Sydney Theatre Company website.

Reviewer attended performance on August 11.