The Carousel

Jennifer Tremblay, Translated by Shelley Tepperman

Stellar Quines

Traverse Theatre

From 30 July 2014 to 24 August 2014

Rating: ****

Review by Philip Fisher

Jennifer Tremblay explores the female experience through the eyes of three generations of a single French-Canadian family in this sequel to The List.

Under the expert direction of Muriel Romaines for Scottish company Stellar Quines, Maureen Beattie gives a performance that is likely to get on to awards shortlists as a woman desperate to learn about the past and possibly even avoid repeating the mistakes of her ancestors.

She calls on the wisdom of her dead grandmother, Marie, in order to discover why her mother Florence was sent to boarding school as a 5-year-old.

Eventually, our guide discovers far more than the Québec resident bargained for in a philosophical piece that gets a magical production.

By the end, viewers will have gained a deep understanding of many of the personalities involved, including inconstant menfolk and plucky, wise women with their own flaws.

The soundscape designed by Philip Pinsky and Jeanine Byrne’s lighting each complement the visual design featuring a dilapidated wall with numerous meaningful adornments designed by John Byrne.

The writing is impressionistic, which can make following details a little tricky, but the overall result is both powerful and moving.