HEMELRUIM. Directed by Nico Scheepers with Paul du Toit and Tinarie van Wyk Loots.


Of all the infinite possibilities in the universe, this particular combination of forces – people, play, language, light, space and sound – is the perfect one. Hemelruim swept me up and held me from the first “what are they on about?” moment, to the achingly beautiful and deeply understood final one before the lights went out and the audience held the silence before audibly exhaling.

Paul du Toit and Tinarie van Wyk Loots in ‘Hemelruim’. Photograph: Daniel Rutland Manners

The “story” of Hemelruim is a love story. Paul du Toit and Tinarie van Wyk Loots play out some of the infinite possibilities of how it goes when boy (beekeeper) meets girl (astro physicist), when they stay together or meet again, when they marry or don’t, and what happens when sickness brings something inevitable into the mix.

Beautiful translation

Hemelruim is the Afrikaans translation of Nick Payne’s Broadway hit, Constellations, and it is a beautiful transition into Afrikaans. Somehow the language sharpens the meaning and makes this charming and seductive piece more poignant and funny and moving. And Paul and Tinarie are the perfect vehicles for this. They are brilliant.

There is also something liberating about watching a single relationship fill the universe. I needed that. We have had so much of meaningful, important theatre lately. Hemelruim is liberating and moving. I laughed out loud a lot. And I cried. A lot. Especially towards the end.

The set, with its many lightbulbs is effective and evocative, the music of the sky is immense and the many, nuanced versions of how a moment can be played out are intriguing and full of wonder.

This is a very special opportunity to experience theatre on a very deep level.

*Don’t worry if you aren’t 100% up to scratch with your Afrikaans; there are English subtitles.

What: Hemelruim

When and where: The Fugard Theatre until 13 May

Book: Computicket