24 August 2021 / 4 September 2021
CONSTELLATIONS (Donmar Production at Vaudeville Theatre) Review: Tovey / Douglas Cast, redux
Saw the Tovey/Douglas version for the second time. It has progressed quite significantly from just a few weeks ago. Douglas is still a bit leering in places, but the campness has been turned waaaaaay down. I think it’s a big improvement because now I could actually focus on Manny’s journey instead of rolling my eyes every 30 seconds.
Tovey has gone from strength to strength, and his performance is even more spectacular than last time. Even the rap sequence no longer feels silly: now it’s genuine and really funny (I even laughed out loud a few times during it for real). Tovey’s facial expressions in the BBQ scenes with Douglas alone are worth the price of admission. His Roland just draws you in. Even though Roland and Manny are going through things as a couple, the main “thing” is actually happening to Manny. And yet, somehow, Manny ends up more of a plot device (at least for me), and it’s Roland and his story that I am most invested in. Mind you, that’s not simply because I like Tovey as an actor (which I do, of course). It’s because he is an amazing actor that he can infuse his character with the ability to influence the audience like that. It’s an 80 minute Tovey show. I don’t mean it negatively (like he purposefully overshadows Douglas; not at all). It’s more that he is so good, you can’t take your eyes of his character.
Even if you’d seen this play before and didn’t like it, it’s worth seeing this rendition of it. Seriously.
Cheapskate enjoyment value, redux: £15 (yeah, I’m bumping it up!)
My third and final viewing of the Tovey/Douglas version of Constellations. It wasn’t massively different from the show 2 weeks ago if I’m honest, but that’s neither good nor bad since I liked that one quite a bit. My only criticism is that the silent scene (let’s call it that so not to give away the twist) was almost completely silent when I first saw it (which I like), had a few words here and there last time, and had too much vocalisation for my liking this time around. Given the preceding scene, it felt rather unnecessary…
If anything, a bit more campness and cartoonishness than last time was seeping through in Dougals’ performance of Manny. As I said before, I’m not a fan of this interpretation, but the woman sitting next to me did share before the show that she’d see every cast, and Douglas is her favourite Manny/Marianne, so clearly it’s a hit with some.
Tovey’s performance is impeccable as always. His face and other non-verbals are even more expressive than before, and it’s just sheer joy to see him on stage for 80 minutes straight. The new nuances of the dance scene made me burst out laughing. Extremely enjoyable performance on balance.
Cheapskate enjoyment value, redux: £10.