by Laura Kressly
In 2015, Dr Rosy Carrick was in Russia researching the life and work of Vladimir Mayakovsky as part of her PhD. On an otherwise a normal day, she receives a note from herself. It’s rather different from the usual reminders her past self leaves her future self, like ‘phone mum’ or ‘pack daughter’s PE kit’. Dated 1928, she has written to her past self – due to incorrect calculations and broken equipment, future Rosy implores present Rosy to build a time machine to rescue her.
The initially simple premise gradually reveals a complex dramaturgy aided by the complications of time travel. The 80s sci-fi fan immediately jumps into action brushing up on worm holes and searching for an actual scientist to help. With literature as her specialism rather than quantum physics, she knows she can’t do this on her own, so finds support from a mysterious scientist online to learn how to rescue herself.
Magical realism and autobiography combine with time travel to reveal a gradual zigzag across history and several storylines. The engaging, nuanced structure combines with self-discovery in a heartwarming and intimate solo performance. The tangled narratives are on the verge of snapping at points, but the knots they make give them strength rather than messy weakness.
There are moments where the delivery is a bit flat near the beginning, but once Carrick builds up momentum she is unstoppable. Crisis hits at just the right time and whilst it’s clearly coming, it neatly propels the story into a comforting conclusion that brings together time and space. The world she creates through video and storytelling is both a joy and an insight into the tenacity of the human spirit and the passion that drives us.
Passionate Machine runs through 23 March then tours.
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