The Hollywood Reporter posted a very nice review for Constellations, which opened today.
A romantic two-hander spun out of string theory, in which the significant moments of a couple’s life together are played out in different directions across infinite parallel paths? That sounds on paper like a cerebral exercise, designed to test audiences’ concentration while actors flex their muscles. But British playwright Nick Payne’s beguiling Constellations is not only a full-bodied narrative, it’s a richly affecting experience. That’s thanks to the sensitivity of the writing, but also to the warmth, humor and vitality invested in it by Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson, giving two astonishing performances in a production from Michael Longhurst that’s as rigorous as it is tender.
(…) Gyllenhaal is riding high on critical and awards-season attention for his maniacally riveting turn in Nightcrawler, while the secret is out on seasoned English stage actress Wilson after her terrific TV work on Luther and The Affair. Neither of them could have asked for a more distinctive entrée to Broadway.
The range displayed by both actors is impressive indeed, and their chemistry unquestionable. Gyllenhaal made an admirable New York stage debut off-Broadway in 2012 in Payne’s If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet, a less striking study of the chaos and comfort of human relationships. But the actor’s work here is in another league, swinging from open to standoffish, from vulnerable to cool, from sweet and shy to charming and self-assured. His ambling physicality in the role is expertly disciplined but appears entirely natural, while his English accent is flawless.
Constellations is the first Broadway opening of the year and it sets the bar high. Would that more plays were as compact and lively, as intellectually and emotionally stimulating as this one.