Stellar performances in one of the most stimulating productions staged by the Company of Ten can be seen in the Abbey Theatre Studio this week.

The St Albans theatre company is putting on Constellations by Nick Payne, billed as a love story that crosses universes.

And even if the quantum physics behind it proves a theory too far for most of the audience, there is no getting away from the fact that this is an amazing piece of theatre.

A two-hander directed by Chris Bramwell for whom Constellations is clearly a labour of love, it revolves around Roland, a beekeeper, and Marianne, a physicist.

Played out in the round in the Studio where twinkling lights appear as stars, it investigates all aspects of the couple’s relationship.

In a series of short sketches, it follows their meeting through their first date, their breaking up and reunion culminating in illness.

But it is not as simple as that. It examines how a different complexion can be put on a relationship by words and how they are used.

From that stems the notion of parallel existences and it proves to be a fascinating and compelling 90 minutes for the audience.

Each sketch is repeated up to five times in short staccato segments that are performed masterfully by Lucy Crick as Marianne and James Douglas as Roland.


The play requires them to demonstrate a stunning range of emotions and as each scene changes, their faces are frozen and their eyes fixed on each other as the lights darken and they move around the Studio for the next segment.

Lucy in particular has to demonstrate how illness is robbing her of her voice, such a difficult skill but one she makes look easy.

The couple carry off their roles brilliantly, following in the footsteps of the likes of Zoe Wanamaker and Peter Capaldi who have played the same parts in the West End.

And it is no exaggeration to say they make the roles their own in the same way as those on the professional stage.

Constellations runs until Saturday (14) and is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining.

Further details and tickets are available at