Browse reviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2018

Passionate Machine

Rosy Carrick

Genre: Contemporary, New Writing, Theatre

Venue: Zoo Charteris


Low Down

Everyone writes notes to their future selves. But what if the future starts writing back?

A one woman show, written and performed by Rosy Carrick where the lines between autobiography and fantasy blur, and where the inspiration of Rocky can be a spiritual salvation.





To try to describe the details of this tightly woven production would be to skim over its magic, but still it’s worth mentioning that the deliciously tight performance, with not a step out of place, was confidently measured and so perfectly paced that in a mere hour (one might say almost montage-like), we were taken across decades spanning almost a century, spinning through wormholes and bittersweet childhood optimism, falling into David Bowie and a 20th Century poet revolutionary, and stepping into the intimacy of a PhD with passion at its heart, witnessing stories of sadness and regret but also of power and resilience, of rising and thriving. I felt at the end of this show the joy of seeing something crafted particularly well, like the pleasing texture of a carefully finished pot, or the ripples of a handmade quilt. It’s the seamless polish of this carefully thought out piece that made it very satisfying to watch.

Carrick has delivered here a fascinating semi-autobiographical performance, colliding art and science through emotional slices of time and possibility.

A credit to this intelligent and calmly persuasive show is that I had to, embarrassingly, keep asking myself if time travel was actually possible, and maybe I had missed something in the news. My fingers itched for my smartphone to google the particle accelerator and I, for a short moment, day dreamed about whether I would go back or forward in time first. I can only hold the skilful performer to blame here, for her clever retelling of events, her own fake news crafted so earnestly.

The genius here is subtle, lose focus and you might miss the brilliant detail. It’s the stringing together of the real life narrative interspersed blurringly with fantasy and possibility that makes it such a beauty in itself. This is fresh writing at its very best.

Carrick held the audience throughout; a testament to fine direction here as complex narratives neither crowd nor weigh down the lightness of the show, making for a highly digestible production, funny as well as poignant as well as moving as well as intellectually yummy. The use of multimedia was elegantly placed to heighten and emphasise the narrative, adding depth and texture without any loss to the live performance. It’s the feathering of semi autobiographical narrative and playful theatricality that makes this piece high quality and original.

Passionate Machine not only reminded me of my own childlike wonder of time travel possibilities but also the heart breaking promises we make our future selves when we are young. Carrick’s mesmerising performance reminds us of the vital urgency in pursuing our passions, no matter how odd, or niche, or difficult. There’s a fine line between obsession and passion and Carrick holds her head, and a bicep, up high on this one.