The Carousel (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

The Carousel

Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic

Second play in Jennifer Tremblay's triology is triumphant torrent of emotion at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Stellar Quines’ production of The List at the Fringe in 2012 was a quiet sensation, for the quality of the writing, by French-Canadian playwright Jennifer Tremblay, and for the team brought together by Muriel Romanes, including Maureen Beattie as the sole performer and John Byrne as designer. The second play in Tremblay’s trilogy unites the same team but, where The List was a masterpiece of restraint, The Carousel is a spinning torrent of language, characters and emotions.

As the protagonist (the same woman as in The List) drives to her dying mother’s beside, her mind explores her relationships with her grandmother, her mother, her own children. Scenes shift at lightning speed between past and present, populated by an ever-expanding group of characters and intense events which make this carousel feel more like a rollercoaster.

It’s a testament to Beattie’s considerable skill and Romanes’ deft direction that we keep pace (most of the time), while Byrne’s beautiful hand-painted backdrop acts as an anchor, picking out key images from the story. But in a play haunted by losses and absences, at its heart is a presence: the protagonist’s unquestioning journey to be with her dying mother, and the powerful driving forces of love between the generations. 

Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Fri 29 & Sat 30 Aug.

The Carousel

  • 4 stars

Jennifer Tremblay's follow-up to The List charts a woman's quest through a labyrinth of memories. Directed by Muriel Romanes and starring Maureen Beattie.