Rosy Carrick in Passionate Machine

Passionate Machine

The evidence about the reality of time travel builds steadily in this engrossing, fabulous story: the book about Mayakovsky really was written by Doctor Rosy Carrick, she really does have a tattoo with a Bowie lyric on her wrist, and she really is wearing a CERN t-shirt. Could all of these seemingly impossibly surreal facts add up to an astonishing truth?

There's a playful, clever use of montage and imagery throughout, and the storytelling is deft, credible and delivered with wit and great humour. Could it really be the case that there are messages from her child self coming through from the past - and can it really be true that a gift from Russian revolutionary poet Mayakovsky to his daughter given in the 1920s holds the key to travelling through time?

The answers to these questions and more arrive regularly throughout this arresting and intricately structured series of monologues, and physical and photographic evidence mounts up. Garrick's performance is casual, funny and factual, and her stories reference the Rocky films, Bowie's music and personas, and iconic 1980s time travel films.

We all write messages to our future selves: Remember PE Kit, Phone Mum, Cancel Free Trial - but the evidence here mounts up to suggest that there are messages from the 1920s popping up in the 21st century. I found myself writing a note to myself to reopen my book of Mayakovsky's poetry, and in my own unsettling time-travelling coincidence, had found his name appearing among some old school papers and certificates that my parents had unearthed for me just a few hours before I watched this show.

Fact and fiction are interwoven here in a starkly unusual journey of storytelling, and there is a heartwarming and delightful twist at the end where a simple message of belief, and faith in finding the true answers to life's little mysteries is revealed.

This is a truly original production, with flashes of brilliance and hints at darker untold stories that remain embedded in the mind long after the performance has ended. It is quite difficult to characterise the way the story unfolds, as it's so highly original. All that can be said for certain is that it's refreshing, compelling, and exciting to watch, and is told with a warmth and casual self-deprecation that is delightful.

Carrick's delivery is understated and frank, and she moves around the stage with confidence and purpose throughout, with deft use of props and costumes all the way along the journey. There's also a fair amount of technical video, montage and sound work going on here to add to the story, all timed to perfection, and which all works in seamlessly - the soundtrack and editing detailing Rosy's train journey to Edinburgh is just superb - it's very home-movie, but also very slick.

It's easy to appreciate why this show won Best New Play at the 2018 Brighton Fringe: this is very surprising, audacious in its scope, and often brutally honest and self-critical. It's ultimately about finding yourself - and it's a very special journey that Rosy makes to get there. Take the time to travel along to see this, and you'll be delighted, entertained and more, more than a little, and more than once.

4 Stars  ★★★★

Click to book tickets for this show 
Zoo Charteris (Venue 124)
More about Rosy Carrick | Rosy is also performing her poetry at the Edinburgh Book Festival on August 19th at 8pm
August 3-27 15:30 (1hr) £8-£10

Photo credit: Sharon Kilgannon

Passionate Machine




Plus +

  • Highly original
  • Great use of media
  • Polished performance

About David Petherick

David Petherick is the owner and publisher of and was born in, and lives, in Edinburgh. He is a writer, marketer and tweeter and is also a LinkedIn Profile Doctor. Follow @edinburghfest for festival news and updates and @petherick for personal news and views.

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